An internationally renowned expert on torture says that evidence confirms a young Palestinian has died of injuries he sustained in Israeli custody due to torture.Arafat Jaradat, a 33-year-old father of two, died on February 23, 2013, in Israel’s Megiddo Prison, where he was being interrogated by the Shin Bet secret police, according to the Electronic Intifada.

As Haaretz reported, Jaradat was arrested on the night of February 18, 2013, on the suspicion that he had thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail at Israeli occupation forces: “It was a bit after midnight and everyone in the house – he himself, his wife Dalal, his four-year-old daughter Yaara and two-year-old son Mohammed – was sleeping, as was his brother Mohammed, who lives in the same building. The soldiers, ten or 12 of them, burst into the home and behaved with rare courtesy. They asked for identity cards and when Arafat gave them his, they told him to say goodbye to his family and come with them for detention. His small children, Yaara and Mohammed, clung to his legs but the soldiers promised them their father would be home soon.”

He never did come home.

Israel claimed that Jaradat died of “natural” causes, but human rights groups and family members said the horrific injuries on his body indicated he had been severely beaten, a finding supported by the autopsy carried out by Dr. Saber al-Aloul, a forensic medicine specialist and director of the Palestinian Medico-Legal Institute, along with two Israeli pathologists.

Al-Aloul’s autopsy report concluded that Jaradat died due to “nervous shock as a result of extreme pain from the intensity of the injuries … which resulted from multiple direct and extensive acts of torture.”

Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups jointly condemned Jaradat’s death and urged an international investigation.

Editor’s note: Megiddo Prison is based in historic Palestine, a few hundred meters south of Tel Megiddo, or Har Megiddo, known to Christians worldwide as ‘Armageddon’. (A ‘Tel’ is a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot.)

In 2005, archaeologist Yotam Tepper, of Tel-Aviv University, discovered the remains of a church which is believed to be from the 3rd century, a time when Christians were still persecuted by the Roman Empire.

The artifacts were found inside of the prison. It is the site of the oldest known church in the Holy Land and, possibly, the world, depending upon how one defines ‘church’; an inscription inside the church mentions a Roman officer, ‘Gaianus,’ who donated ‘his own money’ to have a mosaic made.

Anthropologist Joe Zias said of the discovery, ‘My gut feeling is that we are looking at a Roman building that may have been converted to a church at a later date.’

Authorities are still speculating on the possibility of moving the prison.

More on the case of Arafat Jaradat at the Electronic Intifada, via link below.