Special investigator dies in Palestinian custody
RAMALLAH A SENIOR Palestinian official suspected of embezzling public funds fell to his death from the third-floor kitchen window of a West Bank security compound where he was being interrogated, officials said on Monday.
The official investigating the incident said Osama Mansour jumped and that there is security camera footage to prove it. Mansour’s family and a leading human rights activist called for an autopsy in the presence of an independent doctor.
Mansour’s job was to track Palestinians who sold land to Israelis, and the case is training a spotlight on the murky world of secret West Bank land deals. Israeli settlers often try to buy Palestinianowned land in the West Bank and east Jerusalem to strengthen their hold on occupied territories the Palestinians want for their state. Those convicted of selling land to Israelis face the death penalty, though executions in such cases have not been carried out.
Palestinian society views such acts as treason because it weakens their quest for an independent state in the occupied lands.
Mansour , who worked in the attorney general’s office, was given large sums by the Palestinian Authority to buy back land sold to Israelis whenever possible, said Abdel Latif al Aidi, an official leading the investigation into Mansour’s death.
More than three weeks ago, Mansour was arrested on suspicion he pocketed some of that money by claiming he had successfully bought back property when he had not.
Mansour was being held in a regular room and not in a cell at the Military Intelligence building because he was receiving special treatment.