JERUSALEM: The Palestinian man who died in custody in an Israeli jail on Saturday showed obvious signs of torture, a senior Palestinian government minister said, calling for an independent, international investigation into his death.
Israel's Ministry of Health said the initial autopsy results could not indicate the cause of death.
Detainee death sparks West Bank clashes
RAW VIDEO: Clashes erupt in the West Bank ahead of a funeral for a prisoner who Palestinians say was tortured to death in an Israeli prison.
Israel's treatment of the 4500 Palestinian prisoners it holds in custody - all of whom took part in a mass hunger strike on Sunday - has prompted angry demonstrations across the West Bank over the past three days. The allegations that Arafat Jaradat, 30, had been tortured before he died looked set to guarantee the protests would spill over into a fourth day, prompting calls from Israeli politicians for the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to act to prevent any further escalation in tensions. The autopsy revealed that Mr Jaradat had broken bones in his neck, spine, ribs, arms and legs, said Issa Qaranga, the Palestinian Authority's Minister of Prisons.
The PA's chief pathologist and other representatives were at the autopsy, he said. There were no signs of heart failure, the cause of death given by Israeli authorities, Mr Qaranga said. ''He did not die of a heart attack, he died from torture conducted during interrogation and we hold Israel fully responsible,'' a senior Palestinian Authority spokesman said.
Israel's Health Ministry released a statement late on Sunday night that said: ''During the autopsy, no signs of external trauma were found apart from those pertaining to resuscitation [attempts] and a small graze on the right side of his chest. No evidence of disease was found during the autopsy.
''The initial findings cannot determine the cause of death.'' Mr Jaradat, a father of two from Sair, near Hebron, whose wife Dalal is pregnant with their third child, died on Saturday in Israeli's Megiddo prison after being arrested last week on suspicion of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.
Mr Jaradat's lawyer, Kmiel Sabbagh, also alleged his client had been abused by Israeli interrogators.
Since 2003 there had been 700 complaints of torture in Israeli prisons, none of which had been investigated, the prisoners rights group Addameer said.
''There have been 53 deaths from medical neglect and 72 deaths resulting from torture in the occupation's prisons since 1967,'' it said in a statement.
Fairfax Media has spoken to several former prisoners who say they were subjected to sleep deprivation, beatings, being forced to sit in stress positions and prolonged, painful handcuffing while in detention.