Palestinian security prisoner found dead in his cell
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Palestinian security prisoner found dead in his cell

PA health and foreign ministries call for investigation into Nassar Taqataqa’s death; family says he did not suffer from illnesses

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Illustrative: Inside the Nitzan Prison in Ramle,  February 27, 2012. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Illustrative: Inside the Nitzan Prison in Ramle, February 27, 2012. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

A Palestinian security prisoner was found dead in his cell on Sunday, the Israel Prison Service said in a statement.

Palestinian Authority Prisoner Affairs Commission chairman Qadri Abu Bakr identified the deceased as 31-year-old Nassar Taqataqa of Beit Fajjar, a village south of Bethlehem, according to the official PA news site Wafa. He claimed that Taqataqa died in solitary confinement at the Nitzan Prison.

The prisoner, who was arrested in mid-June on suspicion of involvement in “activities hostile to the security of the state,” underwent medical checks at a hospital in Afula a few days ago that did not reveal abnormalities, the Prison Service statement said, adding that Taqataqa identified with the Hamas terror group.

He was also sent to a mental health center on Monday for followup checks, the statement noted.

PA Health Minister Mai al-Kaila claimed in a statement that Israel knew about what she called Taqataqa’s “multiple illnesses” and accused the state of failing to provide him “necessary treatment,” which she said led to his death. She also called on international institutions to investigate the circumstances of Taqataqa’s death.

But Taqataqa’s family contradicted Kaila’s account, stating that the deceased prisoner did not suffer any illnesses, Wafa reported.

The PA Foreign Ministry also called for an investigation into Taqataqa’s death, describing it as “a racist crime.” It claimed that Taqataqa died while he was being interrogated without explaining how it could be privy to such a detail.

Jawad Thawabteh, a Fatah official in the Bethlehem area, alleged to Wafa that Israeli security forces had brought Taqataqa to his family’s home two weeks ago to search it with him and beat him there.

An IDF spokesperson denied Thawabteh’s account, contending that security forces did not bring Taqataqa to his family’s home two weeks ago.

The Israel Prison Service and the PA Health Ministry both did not respond to requests for comment.

More than 200 Palestinians have died while in Israeli prisons since 1967, the PA government news site said.

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