The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported, Tuesday, that a Palestinian detainee from Beit Fajjar town, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, died in solitary confinement in Nitzan Israeli Prison.
The PPS said the detainee, Nassar Majed Taqatqa, 31, was taken prisoner by Israeli soldiers on June 19 2019, and has been under interrogation since then. This was his first arrest by the army.
It also denied allegations by the Israel Prison Authority about his death and confirmed that the Palestinian did not have any preexisting health conditions.
The PPS held Israel fully responsible for his death, especially while under interrogation, as Palestinian detainees are frequently physically and psychologically tortured, in addition to the very bad living conditions they face, and the lack of medical treatment.
The PPS stated that the death of Taqatqa brings the number of detainees, who were killed or died in Israeli prisons since 1967, to 220.
The International Red Cross sent its condolences to the family and stated that although it does not take part in investigation committees or autopsy, it will be following the case closely with the Israeli authorities and the family.
It added that it is following the detainee’s death with great concern and advised refraining from publishing sensitive information for the privacy of the family.
In a statement, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) called for an immediate and impartial investigation into Taqatqa’s death while in solitary confinement in Nitzan (al-Ramla) Prison.
It quoted his family stating that the detainee did not have any health issues and was a completely healthy young man when he was taken prisoner.
According to human rights organizations’ reports followed up by PCHR’s field workers, Israeli forces arrested Taqatqa on 19 June 2019 after raiding his house in Beit Fajjar and taking him to al-Jalamah Center for investigation.
On 09 July 2019, the Israeli forces again raided and searched his family house while he was in prison. Two weeks after his arrest, the Israeli authorities sent Taqatqa to solitary confinement in “Nitzan” Prison (al-Ramla) in Israel to continue investigating with him.
Lawyer Raji Sourani, PCHR’s Director, commented on that by saying, “Israel has a black record of priors, which proves Israeli security services’ involvement in torture, inhuman treatment, and deliberate medical negligence against dozens of prisoners as part of an Israeli systematic policy and under legal cover. Taqatqa, as said, did not have any health issues prior to his arrest, so his death during investigation raises suspicions, which urge opening an investigation into possible occurrence of torture and medical negligence.”
Taqatqa’s family said that this was his first arrest, and they knew about his death via media. Thus, they contacted the lawyer of the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Committee to confirm this news.
PCHR emphasizes that living conditions of around 5800 Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails continue to deteriorate; 700 of them who suffer chronic diseases and do not receive the adequate healthcare. PCHR also holds the Israeli government fully responsible for the death of Taqatqa and calls for a prompt and impartial investigation into the death circumstances.