Palestinian man dies in Israeli custody, family blames severe beating during arrest

06:00 Feb 22 2018 Jericho

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man died while in Israeli custody early Thursday morning, shortly after being detained by Israeli forces before dawn from his home in the occupied West Bank city of Jericho. 

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) released a statement saying that Yassin Omar al-Saradih, 33, was pronounced dead after suffering from seizures and being exposed to severe amounts of tear gas after Israeli forces reportedly heavily fired tear gas in the area during the raid. 

According to PPS, al-Saradi’s family along with other witnesses said that he was severely assaulted during his detention. 

Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, told Voice of Palestine radio on Thursday that the cause of al-Saradih’s death was from severe beating to the head. 

Qaraqe described his death as “a crime, execution and premeditated murder at the hands of (Israeli) occupation forces, which reflect the level of brutality and terrorism of the soldiers.”

He said an autopsy will be carried out on al-Saradih’s body -- one in Israel’s Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, which will be attended by a Palestinian pathologist, and the second at a Palestinian hospital after Israel returns his body to his family.

It remained unclear when his body would be returned to his family.

By Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man for Haaretz

Video published on social media Thursday appears to show IDF soldiers beating to death a Palestinian man during an arrest raid in the Palestinian city of Jericho, which according to the Oslo Accords is supposed to be under full Palestinian security control.

The video shows the man, 33-year-old Yasin al-Saradih, running in the direction of soldiers while holding an object resembling a lamp or a stool, before one soldier appears around a corner and attempts to shoot at him. More and more soldiers then appear and beat Saradih, which continues as they drag him away — which can be seen on another camera feed.

The army initially accused Saradih of attempting to steal the soldier’s weapon, but changed its story after video of the incident was published. Several reports in the Israeli media, citing military sources, say that an autopsy pointed toward the beating as the cause of Saradih’s death — and that he had not suffered any gunshot wounds.

The scene is reminiscent in many ways of the case of Elor Azaria, who was convicted of executing a disarmed and incapacitated Palestinian attacker in the Palestinian city of Hebron in March 2016. In that case, the initial reporting was simply “Soldier stabbed, assailants killed.” Everything changed a few hours later when video of the execution-style killing was published by B’Tselem volunteer Imad Abu Shamsiyeh.

In 2014, not even video of the sniper execution of two Palestinian teens at a protest in the West Bank town of Beitunia was enough to convince the Israeli establishment that a murder had taken place. It took several more camera angles, an autopsy, and a forensic examination of the bullet that killed Nadeem Nawara before his killer, Ben Deri, was put on trial. And even then, Deri was ultimately allowed a plea deal for negligent manslaughter.

Of course such extreme examples are not the only times the Israeli army has been caught telling a story that turned out to be very different once video appeared. After +972 Magazine obtained video of IDF officers throwing stones at and assaulting two photojournalists in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in 2015, an army spokesperson described the officers’ behavior as using “reasonable force.” Once the army saw video of the incident, one of the officers was eventually sentenced to two weeks in military prison and the other, 30-days confinement on base.

Last month, the army reportedly decided not to prosecute a soldier who, against army regulations, fired into a moving car, killing a 15-year-old boy and wounding four others. For taking an innocent life as a result of disregarding all of the regulations meant to prevent such tragedies, the soldier will simply be discharged and begin his life as a civilian.

Between September 2000 and January 1, 2016, only six percent of Israeli Military Police investigations into the killing of Palestinians by soldiers resulted in indictments, according to data compiled by the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din. Far more killings are never investigated in the first place. (Full disclosure: my wife previously served as a legal counsel for Yesh Din.)

Palestinian Beaten, Dies During Arrest; Israeli Army Claims He Charged Soldiers

Military says man charged at soldiers with iron bar ■ Footage shows soldiers overtaking Palestinian, beating him on ground ■ Sources: No gunshot wounds found on body

by Jack Khoury and Yaniv Kubovich for Haaretz
Feb 22, 2018 5:52 PM

A Palestinian man died after he was arrested overnight by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Jericho on Thursday. A Palestinian NGO said that the man was beaten to death by the soldiers.

The official military response said that the man was shot by the soldiers while charging at them with an iron bar. Military sources said later that shots were fired during the arrest, but no bullet wounds were found on the body. Therefore, the growing assessment is that the man died from the beating he sustained from the soldiers.

A video distributed online documents an incident in which a Palestinian man is assaulted by Israeli soldiers during a military operation in Jericho. The military confirmed that the Palestinian later died of his wounds.

The video shows the soldiers overtaking the Palestinian and continuing to beat him while he lays on the ground with several soldiers around him.

The military confirmed that the video documents an incident that took place Wednesday night in Jericho, but claims it captures it in a way that does not allow full comprehension of the incident.

The Israeli army said that riots erupted during a raid on the West Bank city in which a “terrorist armed with an iron bar charged at the soldiers and tried to attack them. The force responded with gunfire, confronted the terrorist from close range and managed to stop him. A knife was found in his possession. He was evacuated by the force from the scene to receive medical treatment. He was later pronounced dead.”

An earlier military statement said that the man attacked the soldiers with a knife and tried to steal a gun, adding that he was treated by military medics on the scene. The video does not show an attempt to steal a gun. Later, the military retracted the statement and issued a new one.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club identified the man as 33-year-old Yasin al-Saradih. The statement said the man was beaten and wounded by teargas inhalation.

His family told Haaretz that al-Saradih was not suffering from a disease or other medical issues. They told Haaretz that he was single and that he worked in all sorts of jobs, from construction to agriculture. He was also a soccer player who played at the Alhalhel center in Jericho.

In 2002, he was wounded by gunfire in the second intifada, but wasn’t involved with any Palestinian factions or organizations of the sort. His family says he wasn’t wanted by any security organizations as far as the family is concerned.

According to the family, young people often hang out in the city center late at night, particularly those who do not have steady work. When the Israeli army enters the town, they say, it often leads to confrontations and clashes of force.

Eid Barahmeh, Head of the prisoner’s club in Jericho, told Haaretz Yasin was arrested at around 2:00 A.M. Two hours later, the family was notified of his death. According to Barahmeh, al-Saradih’s body was transferred to the Forensic Institute in Abu Kabir, and that a physician appointed by the family was present during the autopsy.

Last Friday, two Palestinians were killed and two others were wounded by Israeli shells when they approached the Gaza border, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The bodies were identified as Salem Mohammed Sabah and Abdullah Ayman Sheikha, both 17, from Rafah.

Over that weekend, the Israeli military struck 18 targets in the Gaza Strip following an escalation on the border. A rocket fired from Gaza hit a house in an Israeli community on Saturday, causing property damage.
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