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Israeli court extends Manasra solitary confinement by four months

Jerusalem24 – The Beersheba District Court accepted today the prosecution’s request to extend the solitary confinement of 20-year-old Ahmed Manasra for an additional four months, based on “confidential materials” that the Prison Service submitted to the court.

Manasra has been held in solitary confinement since November 2021, and has been hospitalized several times during that period due to his deteriorating mental health condition, the latest episode of which came in October when he was admitted to the psychiatric unit of Ramla Prison Clinic.

NGO Adalah, which advocates for Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel, issued a statement on Twitter: “The court accepted in full the States’s arguments that Manasra is a threat to himself and others based on secret evidence, ignoring his severe mental health condition and an assessment by an independent psychiatrist that the isolation will further deteriorate his condition.”

“The continued holding of Ahmad in solitary confinement amounts to torture and inhuman treatment.”

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 was sentenced in 2016 to 12 years in prison, later reduced to nine and a half years, even though the judge found he had not participated in the stabbing itself.

Following the stabbing, Manasra was hit by a car and sustained serious head injuries, and was filmed lying on the ground while an Israeli crowd jeered at him. Following his arrest, video footage widely circulated in the media showed a visibly-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.

In July, a panel of United Nations experts called on the Israeli government to immediately release Manasra, saying his continued detention “is a stain on all of us as part of the international human rights community.”

The UN panel said the retroactive application of laws to Manasra, such as the December 2018 law which forbids the early release of prisoners convicted under terrorism charges, is “illegal, disproportionate and discriminatory.”

“The gut-wrenching scenes of a child with broken bones laying on the ground under a barrage of insults and threats shouted by armed adults in a foreign language; of that very same boy being spoon-fed by unfamiliar hands while chained to a hospital bed and then violently interrogated in breach of human rights norms and principles concerning arrest and detention of a child, continue to haunt our conscience,” the experts said in the press release.

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