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Israel refuses to release Ahmad Manasra, who was detained at 13

Palestinian Ahmed Manasra is seen during his hearing in Be'er Sheva, Israel on April 13, 2022 [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli Beersheba District Court yesterday rejected an appeal to remove the "terrorism" classification under which Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Manasra is being held, in spite of the fact that he was detained at the age of 13 in a brutal manner, violently interrogated without an adult or lawyer present and then held in jail even though he did not carry out a crime.

Israel has maintained Manasra's classification as a detainee held for "terrorism" which means his defence team cannot apply for early release now that he has completed two-thirds of his term, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club.

In August, the Beersheba District Court extended Ahmad's solitary confinement for another six months, despite the deterioration of his mental illness.

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 social 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, 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.

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 his being held in solitary confinement.

Despite Ahmad's aggravated mental health conditions, Israeli authorities have rejected requests by his lawyers for his early release.
Medical reports found that Ahmad suffers from schizophrenia; confirming the devastating impact of the harsh treatment he was subjected to at a young age.

READ: Report: Israel killed 111 Palestinians in 2022

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