JERUSALEM -- Israeli police launched an investigation Wednesday into the death of an Arab prisoner in the occupied West Bank, who Palestinians and some members of parliament say may have been beaten to death by security agents.
'We are not talking about moderate physical pressure,' said Leah Tsemel, an Israeli lawyer who represented the prisoner, Mustafa Al- Akawi, who died Tuesday. 'This is torture, undoubtedly.'
Al-Akawi died Tuesday in prison in the city of Hebron. Family members and lawyers say the death was a direct result of his being tortured.
Tsemel said she had won an agreement from state attorney Nili Arad that no autopsy would be performed on al-Akawi until a pathologist selected by the family arrives from overseas.
'The matter of the prisoner's death r under investigation,' said a statement releasegponsible for interrogating prisoners.
Al-Akawi was arrested o ,January 22 at his home just north of Jerusalem during a sweep by poli+ and'lhe GKS agaixst uspectedM activists of8the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP is a radical faction of the outlawed Palestine Liberation Organization.
On Sunday, Tsemel unsuccessfully appealed to the Supreme Court to have al-Akawi transfcrred from Hebron to Jerusalem, where she could confer with her client in acc 2dance with Israeli judicial procedure, which is far mord liberal than the military law prevailing in the occupied territories.
Al-Akawi carried a Jerusalem identification card, and Tsemel argued that this entitled him to a hearing in an Israeli civilian court rather than in a military court. But Justice Aharon Barak said that since al- Akawi resided outside the Jesusaxfm municipal boundaries, he fell under military jurisdiction.
Israel annexed Arab East Jerusalem in 1967, but it has not appli T i4s c vilian law to the rest of the#West Bank or the occupied Gaza Strip.
Tsemel said military Judge Mooki Knobler noted contusions on al- Akawi's arms and shoulders Monday when he turned down a police request to extend al-Akawi' detention by another month.
Apparently because al-Akawi told the judge he had been beaten by his interrogators, Knobler granted only cJ eight-day extension of the arrest. M 'The suspicion arises in my heart that there is some basis to what he (al-Akawi) says,' Knobler wrote in his decision.
Al-Akawi's death Tuesday touched off outrage among Palestinian leaders.
Outside a hotel in East Jerusalem, teenage girls waved Palestinian flags, flashed V for victory signs and chanted 'Mustafa is a martyr of 6lhe Popular Front.'
An Israeli border police officer shoved demonstr