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Ahmad Manasra meets Palestinian therapist ahead of appeal

Jerusalem24 – The Palestine-Global Network for Mental Health and the legal defense team for prisoner Ahmad Manasra announced yesterday they managed to secure a one-time visit from a therapist for Manasra.

A report by the therapist describes his case as “extremely difficult and complex.”

The Palestine-Global Network for Mental Health released a statement on their social media accounts yesterday.

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.

Following the stabbing, Manasra 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 young, distressed Ahmad being harshly treated and severely interrogated without the presence of his parents or legal representative.

Doctors and lawyers for Manasra have raised the possibility that he may have suffered severe brain trauma during the 2015 attack and his subsequent detention, further aggravating his mental health condition.

“Clear and deliberate neglect”

After the session, the therapist concluded that Ahmad is suffering deep psychological repercussions that began with the head injury he suffered when he was arrested at age 13, and which the therapist says worsened as a result of his captivity and torture.

The therapist said that the Israeli prison authorities’ procedures are not commensurate to Manasra’s physical and mental health needs. Rather, they constitute a “clear and deliberate neglect […] the most egregious of which is the deprivation of a safe childhood and the chance to grow in a natural environment, as well as taking away all sources of support for healthy development.”

The statement emphasizes that although there are urgent signs of Ahmad’s urgent need for “comprehensive, holistic treatment” and a return to a “nurturing social environment”, he is still subject to arbitrary isolation which further exacerbates his condition.

The Israeli Central Court in Beersheba ruled on 16 August for extending the solitary confinement of 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 on 21 November.

In an interview conducted in May, Milena Ansari, International Advocacy Officer at Addameer told Jerusalem24 that based on the convention against torture and ill-treatment, the deprivation of liberty in Manasra’s case under these circumstances clearly amounts to torture and ill-treatment.

“Terrorism” case up for review

An Israeli special committee issued a decision in June to classify Manasra’s case under the “Terrorism Law”, putting an end to the attempts of the defense team to obtain his early release.

Manasra’s defense team are issuing demands for the court to “changes the illegitimate classification of Ahmad’s case and frees him immediately” ahead of an appeal on 1 September reviewing his terrorism charges.

On 24 June, several psychiatrists from the Palestine-Global Network for Mental Health formally requested the Israeli courts release Manasra “on urgent medical grounds.”

The Palestine-Global Network for Mental Health is a network of Palestinian mental health professionals around the globe, which “hopes to employ theoretical and pragmatic approaches to promote the understanding of fundamental human needs for liberation, and thus contribute to Palestinian resilience in the face of and resistance to the violence inherent in colonialism.”

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