(photo credit: ISRAEL PRISON SERVICE)
Doubts by the Palestinian Authority and fellow inmates that an Arab prisoner in Beersheba committed suicide sparked accusations of foul play, calls for an international inquiry, and a large-scale hunger strike at the penitentiary Wednesday.
While prison officials contend that Raed Abdel Salam al-Jaabari, 35, hanged himself in a bathroom at Eshel Prison on Tuesday, the PA is calling the “mysterious” suicide a “war crime.”
Jaabari, who reportedly was arrested in Judea in July during Operation Brother’s Keeper after attempting to run down several Jewish residents, was found unresponsive by guards, according to prison spokeswoman Sivan Weizman.
“A prisoner hanged himself in the toilets,” she told AFP. “They managed to revive him but on the way to [the] hospital his heart apparently stopped working again and he was pronounced dead on arrival.”
The PA and Ramallah-based Prisoners Club, however, questioned the prison official’s version of events and accused Israel of being responsible for the death.
“The Israelis say he tried to hang himself, but it is not true; it’s a lie. This is a war crime,” PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqa told AFP.
PA Prisoners’ Affairs Union Chairman Qadura Fares demanded that international organizations open a formal investigation into the incident.