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Palestinian Prisoner Dies in Flames

Press Release 1/2005
27 January 2005,

For Immediate Release

The Mandela Institute for Human Rights wishes to expose the incident
occurred at Megiddo on Thursday 27 January 2005 which led to the death of
a Palestinian political prisoner.
Background

Megiddo is an Israeli military detention compound located in northern Israel
close to the city of Jenin. Israeli military authorities that runs the
compound holds 1200 Palestinians captive in the compound. The Mandela
Institute learned the compound will be turned to the Israeli Prison
Authority on 15 February 2005.

The Prisoner Rassem Salman Salama Ghnaimat, a 26-year old Palestinian from
the town of Kafr Malek near Ramallah and carries Identity Card #944815190,
was arrested on 26 January 2002. He is serving a 63-month sentence.

The Incident - Fire broke out around 6:00 AM on Thursday 27 January 2005 in
a small room in Section #4. Reasons are not known yet;

- In addition to the late prisoner, other inmates were present in the room
including 'Ala'a Masri from Balata Refugee Camp, Aiman Abu-Arab from
Ramallah and Aiman 'Alawi from the village of Dair Jarir near Ramallah;

-Inmates were taken by surprise. Three of them hurried out and began yelling
for help. Apparently Rassem tripped and could not get out in time. No one
was able to re-enter the room as the fire was blazingly out of control;

-Inmates in Section #4, approximately 230, tried to put out the fire but
water pressure was too low. They kept yelling for help;

-The compound administration came about 15-20 minutes later after the
inmates had put off the fire which destroyed the adjacent canteen and two
other rooms;

-An ambulance came and its team found Rassem completely charred.

Standing Issues

While the Mandela Institute believes it is too early to reach any
conclusions, it calls upon the Israeli military authorities to conduct an
immediate investigation of the incident and to implement instant measures to
avoid recurrence of such horrible incidents. The Institute amplifies the
need to investigate the administration's late response to the prisoners'
call for help. The Mandela Institute extends its deepest condolences to the
Ghnaimat family and the families of Palestinian political prisoners.

All Rights Reserved to the Mandela Institute 2005

Please visit the Mandela website  http://www.mandela-palestine.org for photos
and more information regarding the incident and other issues on Palestinian
political prisoners.

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