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Woman found guilty of stabbing soldier

Aug. 17, 2011 1:06 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 17, 2011 9:59 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel's Ofer military court handed down a 20-year sentence to a Ramallah woman on Wednesday, who was accused of stabbing an Israeli guard at a Ramallah military checkpoint three years earlier.

Sumoud Hasan Karaja, now 23, from the Ramallah-area village of Saffa, was detained during a home raid two days after a guard at Israel's Qalandiya military checkpoint was found moderately wounded by stab wounds to the abdomen.

According the Ramallah Palestinian Prisoners organisation, the court will not take into account the three years Karaja has already spent in custody.

The center quoted the woman's brother, saying that the military judge had demanded that she "ask for the mercy of the court," to reduce her sentence, but she refused, saying she did not recognize the authority of the court and considered the trial "illegitimate."

Speaking with Ma'an, her mother said the "sentence is an unjust one," and called the long prison term a continuation of Israeli policies against Palestinians.

The prisoners center said the trial was another example of Israel's "arbitrary application of laws which suit only the occupation and its policies."

In November, Karaja was transferred from Israel's Damon prison to the Ramle facility, where lawyers said she refused a strip search.

According to a statement at the time, when she struggled, a male warden grabbed her head covering and her neck, pushing her into the ground. She told lawyers that one warden spat in her face.

When lawyers visited her, in preparation to file a suit against the prison, severe bruising was documented on her wrists, and she still complained of pain in her shoulders.
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