Jerusalem24 – The Israeli Central Court in Beersheba ruled today for on extending the solitary confinement of Jerusalemite prisoner Ahmad Manasra for six months, despite his difficult health and psychological condition.
According to the ruling, the extension retroactively began on 21 May and will therefore end three and a half months from now on 21 November.
Khaled Zabarka, Manasra’s lawyer, blamed the occupation authorities for the deterioration of Manasra’s psychological and health condition, in light of their continued disregard for the conditions he suffers which “will increase” as a result of his continued solitary confinement.
Israeli authorities transferred Manasra from solitary confinement in the Eshel prison, Beersheba, to solitary confinement in the Hishikma prison, Ashkelon, at the end of last week.
An Israeli special committee recently issued a decision to classify his case under the “Terrorism Law”, putting an end to the attempts of the defense team to obtain a decision for his early release, or what is known as “two-thirds of the period”, as anyone convicted on terrorism charges is not eligible for early release.
However, this law was only passed in December 2018, and UN experts say its retroactive application to Manasra is “illegal, disproportionate and discriminatory.” Doctors and lawyers for Manasra have raised the possibility that he may have suffered severe brain trauma during the 2015 attack for which he was charged and his subsequent detention, further aggravating his mental health condition.
21-year-old Manasra was arrested as a 13-year-old boy in 2015 for carrying out a stabbing attack in which two Israelis were injured. His 15-year-old cousin Hassan Manasra was shot and killed by Israeli police during the same attack. Ahmad Manasra was sentenced in 2016 to 12 years in prison, later reduced to nine and a half years.
Zabarka said that his psychological situation and both his mental and physical health are deteriorating and that prolonging solitary confinement only exposes him to further danger.
A movement advocating for the release of Manasra has been gaining traction as concerns grow for his mental wellbeing. Multiple campaigns including a social media campaign under the hashtag #freeAhmadManasra still refer to him as a “child-prisoner”, asserting that his detention in Israeli prisons at a young age has not allowed him to follow a normal path of development into adulthood.