A Palestinian prisoner whose death in Israeli custody fanned violent clashes across the West Bank over the weekend was tortured before he died, the Palestinian Authority said .
The results of an autopsy conducted in Tel Aviv were described at a press conference in Ramallah on Sunday night after a day of angry protests across the West Bank and Gaza in which dozens were injured.
The findings contradict claims by the Israeli prison service that Arafat Jaradat died on Saturday from a cardiac arrest. A Palestinian doctor's investigations found that while Jaradat's arteries were clear, his bruised and bloody body suggested he had been beaten before his death.
The 30-year-old, a petrol station worker and father of two, was arrested on 18 February in relation to a stone-throwing incident in November during which an Israeli was injured.
Aside from an old back injury inflicted by a teargas canister, Jaradat's relatives insist he was healthy when he was arrested. Just a few days later, he died in Megiddo prison.
Kameel Sabbagh, a lawyer who attended Jaradat's last hearing on Thursday, has claimed that he had advised the Israeli judge that his client had been tortured and should be examined by the prison doctor. According to Sabbagh, this did not happen.
"He had serious pains in his back and other parts of his body because he was being beaten up and hanged for many long hours while he was being investigated," Sabbagh told Ma'an news agency. Sabbagh's notes from the court hearing describe his client as "extremely afraid" of returning to his cell.
A rumour that he had been beaten to death during an interrogation spread quickly yesterday through Hebron, where hundreds of protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers for the second day running in the streets kilometres from Jaradat's home.