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Hamas security says probes prisoner's death in Gaza
GAZA (Reuters) - The Hamas-run police force in the Gaza Strip said on Wednesday it was investigating the death of a prisoner after a Palestinian human rights group said the inmate was tortured during interrogation.
The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) said one of its researchers had seen marks on the hands and legs of Jamil Assaf indicating he had been tortured in jail.
Assaf was detained by police on March 9 and died in Gaza's main hospital on Tuesday. The ICHR said he was suffering from kidney failure after a beating.
Assaf's death was the second of a prisoner in a Hamas jail in Gaza this month, the ICHR added.
Islam Shahwan, a police spokesman in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, said police were investigating Assaf's death.
"If it was proven that Assaf died as a result of torture, those proven to have been involved in the incident will suffer maximum punishment," Shahwan said.
In its annual report last Thursday, the ICHR said Hamas-run security forces in the Gaza Strip and those loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in the West Bank have tortured prisoners.
The two rival movements have said standing orders prohibit the mistreatment of detainees. Hamas Islamists wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah forces in 2007.
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