Ma'an News Agency
April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday night that he had designated his Minister of the Interior to reinforce rules against torture, following an outcry over the death of a detainee earlier in April.

"There is good treatment of inmates in our prisons," Haniyeh said in a statement, adding that following concern from rights organizations, the minister would again instruct all security departments and interrogators about Gaza's prohibitions on the use of torture.

The statement was issued following the weekly Tuesday cabinet meeting of Gaza's government, hours after Human Right Watch issued a report calling for a clear investigation into the death of Adel Razeq, a 52-year-old father of nine, who died in police custody on April 14.

HRW's call followed statement of concern by Gaza-based rights organizations, who quoted family of Razeq saying he did not have any health conditions prior to his detention, and was released five days later to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

When his brother examined the body, it was badly bruised and appeared to have broken bones, the HRW report said.

Razeq was said by family members to have been hired as a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces in 2005. The forces clashed with Gaza police in 2007, when fighting escalated close to civil war, ultimately seeing Hamas take control of Gaza.

"The evidence raises concern that governmental authorities may have caused or contributed to the death of a man in their custody," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

"Hamas should order a fully independent criminal investigation."

Last Tuesday, an Interior Ministry statement said the prisoner suffered a "sudden illness" and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. It did not mention why he was being held.

The Ministry of Interior has claimed that Rezeq drank chlorine in the detention center. According to the statement, an investigation was opened at the time into the cause of Adel Razeq's death.

He was taken to the Ash-Shifa Hospital for medical observation and afterward was returned to the detention center, with Rezeq dying due to medical complications, it said. However, the statement gave no further details on the circumstances of his death.


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