Saturday, February 23, 2008
"Violent protests have erupted around a West Bank town after the death of an imam from Hamas in a Palestinian prison seemingly of a heart attack.
Imam Majd al-Barghouti, 42, died on Friday in a Ramallah prison, Palestinian security forces said. The death sparked protests around Kobar on Saturday, with two protesters wounded by Palestinian police gunfire, medical sources said.
Al-Barghouti, from Kobar village in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, had been arrested last week.
Palestinian Authority (PA) forces of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, have arrested several Hamas members in the West Bank in recent months in their ongoing standoff with the group which controls the Gaza Strip.
Calls for investigation
The Barghouthi clan and residents of Kobar village issued a statement about the imam's death.
The PA was accused of "executing [Barghouthi] without reverting to the justice system and without any justification or right".
The clan then called on "all responsible parties in the committees of the [Palestinian] Legislative [Council] and human rights institutions to work on exposing the truth about what our son, [Majd al-Barghouthi] was subjected to and to try all those responsible for such a crime".
Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) announced the formation of a "fact-finding committee" into the incident.
The PLC also said that political detention is illegal "whether in the West Bank or Gaza Strip" and promised to investigate al-Barghouthi's death "in order to prevent further suffering of the people".
The reference was to potential violence that could erupt as a result of the incident......"