The Palestinian Authority said Saturday it has launched an investigation into the death of a detainee in a Palestinian prison in Jericho.

Ayman Samarah, 40, from Jenin, was found dead in his prison cell on Friday.

PA security sources said that Samarah was known to suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes. The sources said a PA court in Jericho had ordered him remanded into custody for assault.

PA Prosecutor-General Abdel Ghani al- Uwaiwi ordered an immediate investigation into the death of the detainee. He also instructed the PA security forces to perform an autopsy on Samarah’s body to determine the cause of death.

Palestinians in Jericho claimed that Samarah died after being beaten by another detainee.

The death of the detainee in Palestinian custody has embarrassed the PA leadership, especially in the wake of the fact that it occurred one week after another Palestinian, Arafat Jaradat, died in Israeli custody.

PA security forces on Saturday prevented Palestinian journalists from covering the case of Samarah.

One journalist, Mustafa Khawaja, who worked for the local Al-Aksa TV station, was detained by PA security officers for several hours when he tried to report on a sit-in strike by families of Palestinians held in Jericho Prison.

A PA official in Ramallah ruled out the possibility that Samarah had been tortured while in prison, revealing that Samarah had been detained on suspicion of stabbing a man during a fight in Jericho.

The Jericho Prison is one of the PA’s biggest prisons in the West Bank.

Palestinians said over the weekend that some detainees had complained of torture while being held in the prison.

On Saturday, the mother of Karim Shaheen, who is being held in Jericho Prison, said that her son has been hospitalized after suffering from paralysis in in his left arm as a result of torture.

The family of another detainee, Baha Zahdeh, also accused the PA security forces of torturing their son, who is being held in the same prison on suspicion of membership in Hamas.

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