Palestine: Demand grows for release of 20-year-old from Israeli jail

Israeli forces arrested Manasra in 2015 for his alleged involvement in a knife attack carried out by his 15-year-old cousin Hassan Manasra in East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians are increasingly demanding the release of the Palestinian boy Ahmed Manasra, who was arrested and interrogated in horrific conditions at the age of 13 in 2015 and is currently suffering from serious psychological problems.

Israeli forces arrested Manasra for his alleged involvement in a knife attack carried out by his 15-year-old cousin Hassan Manasra in East Jerusalem. While Hassan was shot dead by the Israeli police, Ahmed Manasra was seriously injured by an Israeli mob and run over by an Israeli driver, resulting in a fracture of his skull and internal bleeding.

As per media reports, Ahmad Manasra was initially sentenced to 12 years in prison. This was subsequently reduced to 9 years and a fine of over $47,000 which his family struggled to raise.

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According to the Palestinian Prisoners Authority, the child was subjected to brutal interrogations that lasted for hours and psychological torture, and he was deprived of sleep and rest.

In one of the video clips, circulated on social media, Ahmad can be seen crying while confronting an investigator from the Israeli forces, saying “I am not sure” and “I don’t remember”, however, the investigator kept screaming at him in order to destabilize him and obtain confessions from him.

On Wednesday, April 13, Beer Sabaa District Court decided to transfer the case of the prisoner Ahmed Manasra to the third committee to discuss his early release, during an appeal hearing requesting the immediate release of the prisoner.

It is reported that no date has been set for the third committee meeting.

Manasra’s defense lawyer Khaled Zabarka requested that his sentence be reduced, and urged for his release in light of the deterioration of his psychological condition.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, the lawyer’s request is based on a report issued by a psychiatrist who visited Manasra in Eshel Prison in Beer Sabaa and confirmed that he suffers from severe psychological disorders as a result of torture and solitary confinement imposed on him by the occupation authorities for a while.

Global campaign to release Ahmed launched

More than 2,11,800 people signed an electronic petition on the website, calling for the immediate release of the Palestinian youth, Ahmed Manasra, to be return to the arms of his family, after years of cruel and systematic torture in Israeli prisons.

In March 2022, Palestine-Global Mental Health Network launched a campaign calling for Ahmad’s immediate release, which has made ripples on social media under the hashtag #FreeAhmadManasra.

The Israeli forces have arrested more than 12,000 Palestinian children since 2000, according to the human rights organization Addameer. According to the organization, most children are tried for stone-throwing, which is punishable by military law with imprisonment of up to 20 years.

According to the report, 81 percent suffered physical beatings, 88 percent did not receive adequate and timely healthcare and 52 percent were threatened with harm to their families and a vast majority experienced other forms of abuse.

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