RAMALLAH,(AFP) -A group of Palestinian MPs on Saturday called for an independent investigation into the death of a Hamas imam in a Palestinian Authority-run prison in Ramallah.
“We as members of the Palestinian Legislative Council… have initiated an investigative committee to look into the real reason for the death of Majed al-Barghuti,” MP Bassam al-Salhi told a news conference in Ramallah.
The group is composed of MPs from several smaller Palestinian factions and does not include any members of the Islamist Hamas movement to which Barghuti belonged, or the rival Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
On Friday Abbas ordered his security forces to investigate the cause of the 42-year-old imam’s death on Friday in police custody after being arrested last week. Security officials said he had died of a heart attack.
But Hamas on Friday said Abbas, his government, and security forces bore “full responsibility for the murder of the martyr Majed al-Barghuti.”
Since Hamas violently seized power in the Gaza Strip after routing loyalists from Abbas’s Fatah movement last June the two factions have been bitterly divided.
Abbas’s security forces have arrested scores of Hamas members in the West Bank in recent months and he has refused all contact with the Islamists unless they return Gaza to his control, a demand Hamas has repeatedly rejected.