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Autopsy Says Mistreatment May Have Caused Arab’s Death

August 10, 1992

JERUSALEM (AP) _ An independent pathologist says a Palestinian man who died while in the custody of Israel’s secret service may have been mistreated, human rights groups said Monday.

Dr. Edward McDonough, an American doctor with the U.S.-based Physicians for Human Rights, agreed with the official finding that 24-year-old Mustafa Barakat died last week of an asthma attack, the groups said.

But the fact Barakat had the attack less than 36 hours after he was detained and interrogated ″leads to the conclusion that he could have been subjected to severe mistreatment,″ the human rights groups quoted McDonough as saying.

The groups - the Palestine Human Rights Information Center, Al Haq-Law in the Service of Man and the Mandela Institute - said McDonough was denied access medical records and the interrogators’ diary.

They demanded an independent inquiry into Barakat’s death.

McDonough, deputy chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut, was en route to the United States on Monday and could not be reached for comment. He was called into the case by Barakat’s family and Israeli-based human rights groups, and assisted at Sunday’s autopsy, the groups said.

Barakat died of an asthma attack Aug. 4 while in Shin Bet custody, according to the military.

His death was the fifth in detention or from treatment related to detention this year, the human rights groups said. Two of the deaths were reported as suicides, one as a heart attack and the other from an unknown cause.

Barakat, who had never previously been detained by Israeli military authorities, was ordered to report for questioning after he crossed the bridge to the occupied West Bank from Jordan on July 29, the groups said.

He had graduated from college in Amman and was to be married in his home village of Anabta on Aug. 8, they said. They said he reported for questioning Aug. 2.

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