'PA Mukhabarat tortured Majd Barghouthi to death'
An independent inquiry commission held the Palestinian Authority (PA) ' fully responsible for the death of a Majd al Bargouthi'.
An independent inquiry commission made up of Palestinian parliamentarians not affiliated with either Fatah or Hamas has held the Palestinian Authority (PA), especially its General Intelligence or "Mukhabarat, " fully responsible for the death of a Palestinian detainee in PA custody in mid February.
Declaring committee findings during a press conference in Ramallah, the committee head, independent lawmaker Hasan Khreishe said "we have reached the conclusion that the Palestinian General Intelligence is fully responsible for the death of Majd al Bargouthi"
"The committee holds the General Intelligence Service and its chief ( Tawfiq Tirawi) fully legally and morally responsible for the death of the Palestinian citizen Majd al Barghouthi."
Khreishe said the committee was demanding that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas punish all those involved, directly or indirectly, in the death of Barghouthi.
"We demand that everyone who ordered, participated, or observed or sought to cover up acts of torture be prosecuted according to the law."
The committee also urged the PA to put an end to all forms of physical and psychological torture against detainees in conformity with Palestinian as well as international laws and norms.
The inquiry committee was made up of representatives of parliamentary blocs excluding Fatah and Hamas, apparently to ensure neutrality and exclude bias.
It comprised the following lawmakers: Hasan Khreishe, an independent, Mustafa al Barghouthi of the National Initiative ( a distant cousin of the victim), Bassam al Salhi of the leftist People's Party, Hanan Ashrawi of the liberal-oriented Third Way, Qays Abu Layla of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and Khalida Jarar of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The committee had carried out an extensive investigation and met neutral physicians as well as eyewitness whose testimonies left no doubt as to the responsibility of the Mukhabarat for the death of Barghouthi.
Barghouthi, a 43-year-old imam or prayer-leader, died while under interrogation in the custody of the General Intelligence in Ramallah on 23 February. He had been violently arrested at a local mosque near Ramallah by masked members of the Mukhabrat.
Mukhabarat officials denied any wrong doing, claiming that Barghouthi died of natural causes and that he was suffering from a chronic illness in the heart.
Moreover, Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman of Hamas said the "murder" of Barghouthi was one incident out of many, adding that there were dozens of political activists now languishing in PA jails and dungeons, whose lives were in real danger.
PA political and security officials have so far refused to comment on the report, saying they will study it first before making any comments on it.
Palestenian Information Center Last Mod: 05 Nisan 2008, 17:39