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Israel extends solitary confinement of Palestine child prisoner, Ahmad Manasra, for six months

BE'ER SHEVA, ISRAEL - APRIL 13: Palestinian Ahmed Manasra is seen during his hearing in Be'er Sheva, Israel on April 13, 2022. The Israeli court accepted to examine the conversion of the charge in the file of Ahmed Manasira, who was sentenced to 9.5 years in prison, from a "terrorist charge" to a "criminal act" and to consider early release request. ( Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinian Ahmed Manasra is seen during his hearing in Be'er Sheva, Israel on April 13, 2022 [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

The Beersheba District Court has extended the solitary confinement of Palestinian prisoner, Ahmad Manasra, 20, who was detained at the age of 14 years and has been suffering serious mental health conditions, for six months until 21 November, his lawyer Khaled Zabarka said.

Lawyers Zabarka and Lea Tsemel had asked the court to reject the Israeli authorities' request to continue imposing isolation on Manasra, who has been serving a sentence for 7.5 years, for another six months.

Zabarka slammed the court's decision, saying the continued isolation of Ahmad is a flagrant violation of international law, and contradicts international conventions, which stipulate that isolation for more than 15 days constitutes crimes against humanity, adding that it is possible that those responsible for his continued detention will be brought to the International Criminal Court, ICC in The Hague.

READ: Palestine ex-prisoner recalls his 33 years of struggle in Israeli jails

Zabarka held the Israeli authorities responsible for the deterioration in Ahmad's psychological condition, in particular and his well-being, in general.

In 2015, then 13-year-old Ahmad and his 15-year-old cousin were accused of stabbing two Israelis in the Pisgat Ze'ev settlement in the occupied West Bank.

His cousin was shot dead at the scene, whereas Ahmad was hit by a car and sustained serious head injuries while an Israeli crowd jeered at him.

Following his arrest, video footage, widely circulated on media, showed a young, distressed Ahmad being harshly treated and severely interrogated without the presence of his parents or legal representative.

After he had turned 14 years old in 2016, Ahmad was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 12 years in prison, although the law at the time when the crime was allegedly committed in 2015 did not permit the imprisonment of minors under the age of 14.

Ahmad Manasra is a Palestinian youth who was imprisoned 7 years ago, at the age of 13, by the occupation forces and has since been suffering from intense psychological torture including solitary confinement - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Ahmad Manasra is a Palestinian youth who was imprisoned 7 years ago, at the age of 13, by the occupation forces and has since been suffering from intense psychological torture including solitary confinement – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The sentence was later reduced to nine and a half years. His mental condition has, reportedly, steadily deteriorated, possibly due to the harsh conditions of his detention, the recurrent instances of solitary confinement and, more tragically, the solitude away from his family.

Despite Ahmad's aggravated mental health conditions, Israeli authorities have rejected requests by Ahmad's lawyers for his early release.

Medical reports found that Ahmad suffers from schizophrenia and confirmed the devastating impact of the harsh treatment he was subject to at a young age.

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