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Israel/Palestine: outrage at further solitary confinement of Palestinian detained since he was 13

Ahmad Manasra (left) has been held in solitary confinement since November © AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prison Service has extended detention of Ahmad Manasra who was 13 years-old when originally arrested

Manasra has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is severely depressed

‘The repeated extensions of his solitary confinement are destroying him’ - Manasra’s lawyer Khaled Zabarqa

Responding to today's decision by the Israeli Prison Service to renew the solitary confinement of Ahmad Manasra, a Palestinian prisoner who has developed serious mental health problems since his arrest as a child seven years ago, Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said: 

“It is outrageous that the Israeli authorities have renewed Ahmad Manasra’s spell in solitary confinement. 

“Continuing to detain Ahmad Manasra in such inhumane conditions is a callous act of injustice. 

“The decision to detain him should always have been a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible time. Now, he is said to be a shadow of his former self and has threatened to take his own life.

“The Israeli authorities must immediately revoke their decision to renew his solitary confinement, and urgently release him from detention.”

Diagnosed with schizophrenia

Earlier today, the Israeli Prison Service rejected a request to move Manasra out of solitary confinement at Eshel prison. There will be a further hearing regarding his solitary conditions at Beersheba District Court on 16 August. Manasra has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is severely depressed.

Manasra’s lawyer, Khaled Zabarqa, told Amnesty:

“He is in danger for his life, actual danger, and the repeated extensions of his solitary confinement are destroying him.”

Manasra has been held in prolonged solitary confinement since November, aside from a two-month stay in hospital, after Israeli authorities claimed he is a danger to other prisoners. This is in breach of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 

Manasra was arrested in October 2015 over the stabbing of two Israelis in Pisgat Zeev, an illegal Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. He was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to nine years and five months in prison despite being only 13 years-old at the time of his arrest, and the court finding that he did not take part in the stabbings. 

He was also questioned without a lawyer or parent present, and subjected to alleged torture or other ill-treatment during the interrogation. Amnesty is not aware of any investigations into the conduct of the security officers.

A request from Manasra’s family calling for his early release has been rejected, even though he has already served two-thirds of his sentence. Under Israeli law, those convicted of murder, rape and child abuse are eligible for their sentences to be commuted by a third. Prosecutors say he is ineligible for early release because he was convicted of “terrorist acts” under a law enacted after he was first detained.

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