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Israeli court sentences 14 year-old Palestinian to 12 years in prison for attempted murder

Nov. 7, 2016 7:47 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 8, 2016 5:53 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israel's Jerusalem district court sentenced a 14-year-old Palestinian, Ahmad Manasra, to 12 years in prison on Monday.

Manasra was convicted of attempted murder for carrying out a stabbing attack on Oct. 12, 2015 that left two Israelis seriously injured. In addition, the court imposed a fine on his family of 180,000 shekels ($47,187).

During Monday’s sentencing, the judge said that “the fact that he is a minor does not confer him immunity from punishment, particularly when a serious crime is committed."

The teenager’s lawyers presented an appeal to the court in May, saying that Manasra was not planning to murder the two Israelis, but to injure them.

The judge rejected the appeal, and on Monday, convicted Manasra of two counts of attempted murder and one count of arms possession.

Following the sentencing, Tariq Barghouth, Manasra’s lawyer, said that the court was “unjust in its sentence against a child who has been treated like a criminal in a country that claims democracy.”

Manasra and his 15-year-old cousin Hassan Khalid Manasra stabbed and critically wounded two Israelis, aged 13 and 21, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

During the attack, Hassan was shot dead at the scene by Israeli forces, while Ahmad was knocked over by a car and seriously wounded.

A video of Ahmad lying injured and bloody on the ground after being hit by the car was uploaded to social media and went viral. In the footage, an Israeli onlooker can clearly be heard saying: "Die, son of a wh***! Die!" while another tells the police officer to shoot him.

In video footage obtained by Ma'an a month after the attack, Israeli officials were captured on film hurling abuse at Manasra, then 13, during his interrogation.

The footage showed segments of the interrogation, as Israeli detectives yelled curses and verbally abused the child, while questioning him about the incident and his motives.

In the video, one interrogator repeatedly shouts at Manasra in Arabic to "shut up", while Manasra continuously pleads for the officer to believe that he cannot remember anything about the incident.

The interrogator is recorded showing Manasra a video of the attack, shouting questions at him about details of the incident. Manasra starts to cry as he says that he "doesn't know" and "cannot remember," pleading with the officer to "take me to the doctor to check me," all while hitting himself on the head.

Manasra’s trial was postponed a number of times, which some commentators alleged was a conscious move to delay the case until he turned 14 in January, at which time he became old enough under Israeli law to be given a prison sentence.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said in a September report that at least 1,000 Palestinian minors between the ages of 11 and 18 had been detained by Israel since January, a number of whom reported being abused and tortured while in detention.

According to prisoners’ rights groups Addameer, a total of 340 Palestinian minors are currently being incarcerated by Israel.

Interrogations of Palestinian children can last up to 90 days according to Addameer, while in addition to being beaten and threatened, cases of sexual assault and placement in solitary confinement to elicit confessions are also reported, while confession documents they are forced to sign are in Hebrew -- a language most Palestinian children do not speak.

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