‘Israel’ extends Ahmad Manasra’s prison isolation for another 6 months

13-year old Palestinian Ahmed Manasra during a hearing at a Jerusalem court on 30 October 2015

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- An Israeli court extended on Tuesday the solitary confinement of 21-year-old Palestinian detainee Ahmad Manasra despite his serious mental and physical condition.

At a hearing for Manasra held on Tuesday, the Israeli court ruled to further extend his solitary confinement for another six months.

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From the hearing of the child prisoner Ahmad Manasra, while the Israeli prison authority requested to keep extending his solitary confinement. #freeahmadmanasra #unchilding

His period in solitary confinement was due to end in May. The extension means Manasra will remain in solitary until November. By then, he will have spent a year in an isolated cell, cut off from normal contact with other Palestinian detainees.

His lawyer, Khaled Zabarqa, said that he will appeal the decision.

“Ahmed is in a very difficult condition and he needs urgent treatment,” Zabarqa told The New Arab on Tuesday. “The court’s excuse to maintain Ahmed isolated is that he might hurt himself, but isolation only causes him more damage.”

“I visited Ahmed recently and I know exactly how the isolation is affecting him, and though I can not give details due to professional secrecy, I can say that he needs professional treatment as of now,” added Zabarqa.

Zabarqa said that aside from granting his client early release, which ‘Israel’ has refused to do, “the court should have transferred him to the general prison” where other Palestinians can care for him.

“We told them that there are Palestinian prisoners who know of his situation and are ready to take responsibility for him and take care of him,” Zabarqa told Al Jazeera.

“Placing him in solitary confinement is punishment for a child who is mentally ill – he needs to be treated, not to be punished,” said Zabarqa, who described his client as “suffering” in his present situation.

Israeli occupation authorities claim they are keeping Manasra in isolation and under surveillance because he poses a threat to himself and other detainees, his lawyer said.

Ahmad Manasra was born in 2002 in Beit Hanina in occupied Jerusalem. Manasra was arrested on October 12, 2015 when he was 13 years old and was subjected to severe harassment during his interrogation by Israeli officers. He is serving a 12-year term in jail, later reduced to 9.

A month after Ahmad Manasra’s arrest in November 2015, footage of his interrogation was made public. The 10-minute video shows Ahmad being interrogated by three Israeli officers, without the presence of his lawyer or parent in violation of international standards, sparking outrage from human rights groups. He appears increasingly distressed as his interrogators continue to shout at him, directing insults and threats.

In 2016, an Israeli court falsely convicted him of carrying out an alleged attack in the illegal settlement of Psgat Zeev in occupied Jerusalem, with his cousin Hassan Manasra, who was shot by Israeli forces on that day. Ahmed was shot and wounded. He has been in prison ever since, and in solitary confinement since early November 2021. Ahmad has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, is suffering from psychotic delusions, and is severely depressed with suicidal thoughts, Ahmad Manasra’s parents said in February 2022.

“Ahmad Manasra has been subjected to a catalogue of injustices by the Israeli authorities, including deleterious effects of incarceration on his development and prolonged solitary confinement. He endured ill-treatment during interrogations, which were conducted without his parents or lawyers’ presence, and was denied the right to a fair trial. He should have been released a long time ago, yet he remains in unnecessary suffering in Israeli prisons,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Pending his release from detention, he must be given access to adequate medical care and never be placed in solitary confinement again. Allegations of torture and other human rights violations that Ahmad has suffered must be effectively and transparently investigated.”

Ahmad Manasra’s mental health worsened during his incarceration. In October 2021, an independent Israeli clinical psychologist working with Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI) diagnosed him with severe psychiatric conditions, and stated these had developed since his incarceration.

Zabarqa, told Amnesty International: “We have asked the Israel Prison Service to release Ahmad into home and community care as a matter of urgency because there is a real danger to his life. The prison doctors themselves recognized as much in their report on 13 June which led to his transfer from the prison cell to the prison hospital.”

On Saturday, Israeli prison authorities transferred Manasra to the isolation section in the Eishel prison in the Negev desert.

In April, Manasra’s lawyer filed a request for his early release because he had served more than two-thirds of his sentence and he was not charged with stabbing.

The Israeli court transferred the case to a special committee to decide whether to drop “terrorist” charges in his case, given his age at the time of the events and the fact that he was never charged with stabbing.

In June, the committee decided to reinstate the “terrorism” charges on Manasra, and his early release was refused, claiming that his file was classified under the “terrorism law”.

(Source / 17.08.2022)

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