Preliminary Arafat Jaradat autopsy report: ‘Reason of Death: nervous shock as a result of extreme pain from the intensity of the injuries described above, which resulted from multiple direct and extensive acts of torture’

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Here is an unofficial English translation of the preliminary autopsy report on Arafat Jaradat prepared by Dr Saber Al Aloul, a specialist in Forensic Medicine and Director of the Palestinian Medico-Legal Institute. The translation was provided by Addameer and Al Haq for reference only:


The following press release was issued this morning from 14 Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations:

Date: 01/03/2013

Ref. No.: 44/2013

The Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), along with Adalah, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, express their outrage at the death of Arafat Jaradat, 30, which, according to the autopsy report of Dr Saber al-‘Aloul, Director of the Palestinian Medico-legal Institute, was caused by torture and ill-treatment inflicted while in Israeli custody. The preliminary autopsy, to which there are links below, found that Arafat displayed severe bruising on his upper back, deep bruising along the spine, and significant bruising on both sides of the chest. The postmortem also discovered bruising on both arms and inside the mouth, blood around the nose and three fractured ribs. In addition, the examination discounted the claim by the Israeli authorities that Arafat died of a heart attack. His heart was completely healthy and there was no evidence of damage or weakness of any kind. The report concludes that all injuries were the result of very recent, severe and direct torture. The undersigned organisations reiterate the demands made by UN representatives for an immediate international investigation into the death of Arafat Jaradat with a view to holding those responsible for his death accountable. 

Arafat Jaradat was arrested on 18 February on suspicion of throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at settlers and was transferred to al-Jalameh prison where he confessed to throwing stones but denied any involvement with firebombs. On 21 February, his lawyer, Mr. Kamil Sabbagh, reported that Arafat was suffering from severe pain in his back and appeared to be psychologically and physically weak after three days under interrogation. According to Mr. Sabbagh, Arafat also expressed strong fear at the prospect of returning to interrogation when his detention order was extended by 12 days. After a request from Mr. Sabbagh, the Israeli military judge ordered that a full physical and psychological examination of Arafat be carried out, the results of which were to be presented to the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) and the court. It is unclear if this medical examination ever took place. If it did, the results of the exam should be disclosed. If it did not, the Israeli authorities must explain why this order was not complied with.  

The absolute prohibition against torture is a peremptory norm of international law and “has now become one of the most fundamental standards of the international community”[1]. Since 2001, there have been more than 750 complaints of torture and ill-treatment against the ISA. Not one complaint has resulted in a criminal investigation. Indeed, given that all complaints are reviewed by the Inspector of Interrogee Complaints, who is himself an ISA agent, it is a process that guarantees the absence of credible and impartial investigations. The fact that the Israeli Attorney General has ratified each recommendation not to investigate is further evidence of the institutional impunity which shields the ISA and those who commit torture in Israeli prisons.

Article 12 of UN Convention Against Torture, of which Israel is a State Party, obliges States to perform prompt and impartial investigations in all alleged incidents of torture. Torture is also considered a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is further listed as both a crime against humanity and a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In addition, torture has permissive universal jurisdiction according to customary international law, which allows any State to prosecute those accused of torture, regardless of their nationality.

However, in 1999, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruling in the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel v The State of Israel contributed significantly to the current climate of impunity, shielding those who commit torture. While the Court affirmed that the practice of torture was prohibited, it also held that such prohibition would not apply in cases of “necessity”, leaving room for the use of extreme measures in arbitrarily-defined situations, in blatant contradiction to the jus cogens status of the absolute prohibition of torture. The ruling effectively allowed for the continuing use of torture by affirming that an Israeli official charged with torture would not be criminally liable by virtue of the “necessity defence”, which can legitimise the use of “physical pressure” in certain circumstances.

In 2009, the UN Committee Against Torture reiterated its call on Israel to remove ‘necessity’ as a justification for the crime of torture as well as calling for all interrogations to be recorded on film. These demands have been ignored. In short, while torture is a crime that the international community maintains cannot be allowed to go unpunished, in Israel both the High Court of Justice and the Attorney General contribute to the lack of accountability that pervades the Israeli judicial system. Unless this culture of impunity is challenged, Palestinians in Israeli prisons will continue to be victims of torture and ill-treatment with regularity.

Arafat’s death is symptomatic of the utter disregard with which Israel holds the lives of Palestinian prisoners. Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, 203 Palestinians have died in Israeli detention centres. At least 71 of these died as a direct result of torture.[2] One hundred and seventy eight Palestinians are being held in administrative detention without charge or trial or any access to the information upon which their detention is based. Presently, ten Palestinians are engaged in hunger strikes in protest against their detention. Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine, who spent more than 90 days on hunger strike and are in critical condition, have suspended their strikes for a week ahead of a court hearing on 6 March in the hope that their detention orders will be dismissed. Both men had their administrative detention orders renewed for another three months on Friday 22 February.

In light of the above, the undersigned organisations call for the following steps to be taken:

  • An international investigation into all complaints of torture by Israeli forces must be carried out, followed by effective accountability for those responsible and redress for victims;
  • All ISA interrogations of Palestinians must be subject to video recording, in line with therecommendations of the Turkel Commission;
  • Given that Israel does not offer due process or a fair trial to Palestinian prisoners, all administrative detainees should be promptly released;
  • The UN Committee Against Torture and Third States should pressure Israel to adopt adequate criminal legislation to define and penalise torture under domestic Israeli law;
  • The European Parliament must promptly activate the parliamentary fact-finding mission that includes members of its Subcommittee on Human Rights to investigate the conditions of detention and interrogation of Palestinians detained by Israel;
  • The EU parliamentary fact-finding mission must include an investigation into Israel’s illegal practice of administrative detention and the use of the “Unlawful Combatant Law”;
  • All hunger strikers in advanced stages must be moved immediately to civilian hospitals where they can receive the appropriate standard of care without being shackled;
  • Immediate intervention from the Israeli Prison Service to provide all hunger strikers with unrestricted access to independent doctors;
  • All hunger strikers should be allowed family visits;
  • UN Member States should urgently put pressure on Israel to end its policy of arbitrary detention and to abide by the standard rules for the treatment of prisoners adopted in 1955, which set out what is generally accepted as being decent principle and practice in the treatment of prisoners.
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24 Responses

  1. seafoid
    March 1, 2013, 11:44 am

    Murdered so miserable Jewish settlers can stay another while on another people’s land. And wait for their Messiah. It is like a folk tale. They waited so long and became so cruel while waiting that they destroyed the thing that linked them to their god.

    • Cliff
      March 1, 2013, 12:42 pm

      Miserable being the operative word.

      Zionists are miserable racist hate-mongers and delusional narcissists.

      Not miserable in the sense that they’re living squalid lives (which would be the obvious Zionist gotcha-intellectually-shallow rebuttal: ‘Miserable? No! All is grand in Eretz Israel’) but miserable in their behavior and their beliefs and their interactions with non-tribe members.

      Zionism is anti-social and inhuman. Compounded by the fact that Jewish fanatics think the world revolves around them and that all their enemies, perceived and real, are Nazis/devils/sub-human/terrorists.

      One day in the future, when these issues open up for the first time – people will wonder why a small but organized ethno-religious group/Lobby was able to circumvent sensible tactical policy in such as volatile a region as the Middle East.

      We are no longer rational actors. We are Jewish nationalists and our worldview is through their narrow-minded, paranoid, racist and supremacist lens.

      Where all Palestinians are Arabs and all Arabs are Palestinians. Illegitimate, troublemakers for the good, decent, Jewish boys in the IDF and the ‘returning’ Israeli Jewish colonists.

      As a minority, an Indian-American, grown up thinking (falsely) that most people were inherently good and decent and possessed a ‘liberal’ sensibility about the human condition, Zionism to me is this f***ing bleak cloud of darkness over humanity.

      Why? We dismiss Arab this and Arab that as backwards and ‘typical’ (Syria, Libya, Iraq, etc.). Yet, we give a pass to this little, racist, apartheid settler-State that blatantly undermines our belief in freedom of speech and honest discoure (keyword, ‘belief in’).

  2. Obsidian
    March 1, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Death by ‘nervous shock’.
    What’s that?

    • American
      March 1, 2013, 4:36 pm

      I don’t know what nervous shock is but intense enough pain can kill you….when it gets too intense for your body to bear part of your brain shuts down to quit receiving the pain signals sent thru the nerves which also means it quits sending out signals for your body to do some necessary things like breathe and functions start to shut down… pass out in that state and if the pain is not removed and you aren’t recesituated immediately you die cause vital functions quit working.
      It feels like what I imagine a heart attack feels like when it happens in that you feel like you are at the bottom of the ocean with the weight of a trillion tons of pressure coming down on you.
      Been there done that. the result of a experimential treatment called hypertherma at Duke for a pea size tumor on my arm…but got recesituated lickely split since I was in the hospital.
      But yea you can die from pain. So that might be what happened to him.

      • sardelapasti
        March 2, 2013, 8:41 pm

        American – Well summarized. Generally speaking, “extreme pain” as cause of death is also one of these hypotheticals used when there is enough proof of extreme physical harm, in the absence of a specific, single, directly deadly lesion. As in the case of a guy flattened under a falling building with a lot of bones pulverized but no spleen or liver rupture or brain damage etc. Also recognized as “shock”, where shock, in a slightly old-fashioned nomenclature, indicates a series of metabolic processes that you nicely described in your post. Not in any case “nervous shock”, nonsense word to muddy the waters.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 1, 2013, 5:18 pm

      “What’s that?”

      It means you animals tortured him to death.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        March 2, 2013, 7:43 pm

        Why the gratuitous insult against animals?

    • Avi_G.
      March 1, 2013, 5:40 pm

      Obsidian says:
      March 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Death by ‘nervous shock’.
      What’s that?

      It’s when you want to spin something in favor of Israel, but you do not understand it, so you ask what it is in order to learn how to better spin it.

    • ToivoS
      March 1, 2013, 7:42 pm

      Yes the term ‘nervous shock’ is not a medically defined term. However, shock or circulatory shock, is a leading cause of death following traumatic injury. Not sure how this was translated from the Arabic.

      Well when is the translation from Hebrew going to appear? They might want to just keep theirs secret. At this point anything Israel says will just be pouring more fuel to the fire.

    • OlegR
      March 1, 2013, 8:19 pm

      That’s a euphemism for “We don’t know what happened but we really
      want to blame Israel for it”.

      People should really wait for the report of Yehuda His. The official report
      of the guy who actually made the autopsy.But of cause since nobody here really cares about what actually happened …

      • Annie Robbins
        March 2, 2013, 12:26 am

        People should really wait for the report of Yehuda His.

        you mean hiss

        oh right, the guy busted for stealing thousands of organs, and then got his job back. the guy who stole part of rachel corrie’s body. cuz he’s so moral. thanks/not.

      • Cliff
        March 2, 2013, 4:55 am

        I thought Yehuda Hiss was banned.

        He is an organ thief and immoral mad scientist sort of crook.

        But OlegR, the fake Russian Jew, supports him so we must oblige.

    • MK_Ultra
      March 2, 2013, 5:51 pm

      If you come over here, I’ll be happy to give you a demonstration.

  3. dimadok
    March 1, 2013, 4:12 pm

    “Circumstances of death: Vague, in one of the Israel Occupation jails..”-That is exactly what is written in the report?
    Sweet, maybe a Hebrew original would be better, instead of that BS.

    • just
      March 2, 2013, 12:53 am

      How is that BS??? They weren’t present whenever & wherever the thugs were torturing, were they?

      It’s truth– probably difficult for you to recognize.

    • Cliff
      March 2, 2013, 4:56 am


      This man was tortured and there is proof of torture on his face and clearly in the report above.

      Yet, of course being the Judeo-fascist that you are, you deny it.

  4. piotr
    March 1, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Obsidian: in layman terms, if you beat up rather similarly a few thousands of people, some will die. This is known to anyone who read about homicide cases in police chronicle. Blows to head, neck and even upper torso are more dangerous, but even kicking legs can kill. Precise mechanism of death in those cases is important to forensic medicine and they are not obvious, but general facts are quite simple. ISA spent at least a weak beating Arafat Jaradad.

    Given low level of accusations, this says that the practice is routine. Givcn current political situation and past practices, I suspect a high level decision to beat up several thousands “trouble makers” as a “preventative measure”.

    • Obsidian
      March 2, 2013, 1:34 am

      We are not discussing ‘layman’s terms’. We’re discussing expert terms, and if an ‘expert’ can’t definitively conclude the cause of death, than he/she should say so.

      Anyway, here is a handbook of autopsy. Let’s begin our search for ‘nervous shock’ here.

      • piotr
        March 2, 2013, 1:51 pm

        We are discussing a non-expert translation from Arabic, with additional complication that exact terminology and medical theories may differ.

        What is CLEAR is that regardless of medical theories about the mechanism of death, Palestinian autopsy detected evidence of TORTURE. Apart from violating international and national laws, torture is a well known risk factor, namely it can lead to death, even when inflicted to a “moderate degree”, i.e. to a degree that most people survive.

        If you read section “Injuries” that it is quite clear that Arafat was punched or clubbed a number of times while in custody, e.g. on the lower lip, elbow, arms and shoulder.

        Section “Results” may be criticized as speculative, and the entire autopsy as hasty, I have no idea what the proper norms are, and if there exist a more extensive recording of the autopsy. But “Injuries”, if true, prove torture.

        There were official Israeli witnesses to the autopsy, so there is a good reason to believe that “Injuries” section is at worst incomplete. I suspect that Israeli officials may challenge any conclusions concerning the causal connection between the proven traumas and death and simply gloss over the fact that those bruises have no plausible “innocent” explanations.

  5. just
    March 1, 2013, 11:07 pm

    Murder by torture. For throwing stones.

    So, do we still have to wait until we get the Israeli version before anyone in our government will comment on (condemn) Mr. Jaradat’s death? Or is this carefully orchestrated not to interfere with the AIPAC lollapalooza and the Jerusalem marathon?

    ( btw, I heard that all the DC stores have run out of knee pads.)

    • MK_Ultra
      March 2, 2013, 5:45 pm

      The Christo-Zionist government of the US won’t say anything. This guy was small potatoes for the new mouthpiece, Kerry, to even acknowledge.

  6. Eva Smagacz
    March 2, 2013, 5:31 am

    “btw, I heard that all the DC stores have run out of knee pads.”

    ………………… and Donkeys

  7. just
    March 2, 2013, 9:47 am

    Has there been any word from the Israeli “experts”?

    I can’t find anything…..

  8. MK_Ultra
    March 2, 2013, 5:42 pm

    One more crime against humanity, another blood-stained jewel in the crown of the Zionist pigs and just a day in the lives of the Palestinians under occupation.

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