13-year-old Palestinian Teen Could Face 20 years in Israeli Prison

Ahmed Manasra has been charged with two counts of attempted murder. (Photo: via English.pnn)

The trial of Ahmed Manasra, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, charged by an Israeli court with two counts of attempted murder, was to resume yesterday in a Jerusalem court. Manasra could face the maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, his lawyers said.

Israel’s Jerusalem District Court indicted Manasra on charges of attempted murder on October 30, 2015, following an attack on two Israelis on October 12 at the illegal Pisgat Ze’ev settlement. The two Israelis survived their wounds. Israeli Police shot dead Hassan Manasra, Ahmed’s cousin, while Manasra was driven over by a passing car, fracturing his skull.

He is currently being held in a closed treatment facility in northern Israel.

According to Israeli law, children under 14 cannot be sentenced to jail. However, last November, the Israeli Knesset approved a bill that would allow Palestinian minors under 14 who are facing terrorism charges to receive prison sentences, which they would start serving upon turning 14.

If passed, the law would only affect children who are citizens of Israel, as Israeli military law already allows for children from the occupied West Bank and Gaza to be placed in security prisons from the age of 12.

Manasra turns 14 later this month.

Alaa Tartir, programme director at the Palestinian think-tank al-Shabaka, which examines the role of political parties in the recent uprising, said: “Most likely a 13-year-old child does not understand what is political or revolutionary violence, but he knows well what it means to live under a brutal military occupation.”

“He would witness injustice and oppression on a daily basis, feel angry and humiliated, watch clips of others who are tortured by the occupying forces, and consequently struggle with painful images that get entrenched in his psychology.”

Human rights watchdogs have often denounced Israel’s ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children during arrest and interrogation.

According to prisoner support group Addameer, at least 876 Palestinians, including 133 children, have been arrested since October 1 across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel.

(PC, Al Jazeera)

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