palestinian child Ahmed Manasra being arrested
Children Human Rights Israel Palestine

Who is Ahmed Manasra?

Israeli soldiers arrested Ahmed Manasra on 12 October 2015 for allegedly intending to stab Israeli settlers in occupied Jerusalem.

Ahmed’s story

 Ahmed Manasra is a Palestinian child who was born on January 22, 2002, in Beit Hanina, occupied Jerusalem.

On that day, Ahmed was walking around with his cousin, Which he considered his best friend, Hasan Manasra (15 years).

The Israeli occupation forces surprised them with bullets, trampling, then beating, assault and humiliation by herds of settlers, This led to Hassan’s death.

Then they took Ahmed to the hospital, handcuffed, while he was between life and death.

Many believed that Ahmed also died, but he later appeared alive.

The Israeli occupation forces deliberately leaked the video of the security interrogation session with Ahmed Manasra.

All of which were violent and threatening to a 13-year-old child at the time.

 Ahmed appeared in the tape crying while confronting a rude interrogator by saying “I am not sure what happened” and “I do not remember”, at a time when the interrogator kept shouting loudly in the face of an advocate in order to destabilize him and obtain free confessions from him that reinforce the occupation’s narrative.

Violation of the right of a child

 This is a clear violation of international laws and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, whose Article No. 16 states that “no arbitrary or unlawful interference with the child’s private life, family, home or correspondence, nor any unlawful attack on his honor or reputation may take place”.

It also states that “the child has the right to be protected by law from such exposure or abuse”.

At the time, the Director-General of the International Movement for Defense of Children, Khaled Quzmar, commented on the leaked video, saying that it is a new audio and video evidence of cases of psychological and physical torture that Palestinian children are subjected to.

 He explained that the Israeli investigators brazenly used psychological torture on the child Manasra by screaming and depriving him of his right to consult a lawyer and accompany his family with him.

And said that “the aim of leaking the video is intimidation and psychological warfare waged against mothers and children.

Despite all that, Manasra succeeded in defeating the investigators.”  He did not make any confession, with evidence that he was repeating: I don’t remember, I don’t know.

 According to the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission, the occupation authorities are detaining 160 children, out of approximately 4,600 male and female prisoners, in their prisons.

The majority of whom were subjected to psychological and physical torture, which he said are continuing their movement in documenting them to use as evidence against the occupation and its leaders who, according to the spokesman, should be tried as war criminals.

 Despite expressing his pessimism about the International Criminal Court, which Palestine has joined, the Director-General of the International Movement for Defense of Children considered that the mere opening of an investigation before this court into the crimes of the occupation would constitute a deterrent to Israeli leaders.

Expressing his hope that the child’s case would awaken the conscience of the international community from its slumber in front of what  Palestinians are subjected to violations.

The court issued a prison sentence against the child

On November 7, 2016, the Central Court issued a 12-year effective prison sentence for Manasra for allegedly stabbing settlers.

The court imposed on him two fines of one hundred and eighty thousand shekels (one US dollar equals about 3.77 shekels).

 The judge stated that “the child’s young age does not give him immunity from imposing punishment”.

A ruling that Manasra defense lawyer Tariq Barghout described as unjust, and said that judges issued an unfair ruling on a child who was treated as a “criminal”.

Manasra’s mental health is in a bad  condition

For his part, The lawyer Khaled Zabarka, Reveled that his mental health is in a bad condition.

He added: “I saw him as a person without a soul… I tried to relieve him, so I told him that there was only a little left and that we are working to release him.

He replied, “I am only waiting for death… I am not waiting for anything from this life”.

“Is suicide is forbidden?”

Ahmed asked his lawyer if suicide is forbidden in Islam

 Zabarka comments on this by saying that Ahmed is a 13-year-old boy, and he lost his spirit and hope for life, stressing that the psychiatrist who visited him confirmed his suffering from a chronic mental illness.

 Lawyer Zabarka stressed that the psychological condition he suffers from will be treated as soon as possible, in addition to medical treatment and medication.

According to the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission, the occupation authorities are detaining 160 children, out of approximately 4,600 male and female prisoners, in their prisons.

Ahmed’s suffering continues

Today, Ahmed faces difficult and dangerous health and psychological conditions in solitary confinement in Eshel Beersheba prison.

Today’s court session will be a new attempt to save him so that he can return to the arms of his family and receive appropriate care and treatment.

According to the defense lawyer, Khaled Al-Zabarqa, “the court dropped the terrorism file on the case of the prisoner Ahmed Manasra, which opens the door for consideration of his early release.”

The lawyer Zabarqa added that “the court did not issue a substantive decision regarding the release, but it nullified the decision of the third committee, which decided that the advocacy case falls under the terrorism law, and accordingly, tomorrow a request will be submitted to hold a third committee session as soon as possible and in the presence of lawyers.”

Al-Zabarqa concluded by saying that “we will demand the application of the minors’ law in relation to a third-term commission on the Ahmed Manasra case, instead of the anti-terrorism law, especially since all conditions for early release apply to him.”

The court session coincided with the launch of a campaign of support for him to demand the immediate release of the prisoner advocating under the title #FreeAhmadManasra, #Freedom_for_Ahmad_Manasra.