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Israel releases Palestinian schoolgirl, 14, from jail

Feb. 13, 2015 12:05 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 15, 2015 7:56 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Friday released 14-year-old Palestinian schoolgirl Malak al-Khatib after a two month prison sentence.

Al-Khatib, from the town of Beitin near Ramallah, was arrested last December and sentenced to two months in jail on the charge of stone-throwing and possession of a knife.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Society said al-Khatib was also fined 6,000 shekels ($1,500).

Israeli forces arrest about 1,000 children every year in the occupied West Bank, often on charges of stone-throwing, according to rights group Defense for Children International Palestine.

But the case of Malak has brought countless media organizations flocking to her family's door and attracted more public attention than most.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club estimates that 200 Palestinian minors are held in Israeli prisons, but only four are girls, and Malak was the youngest.

In a report released in February 2013, the UN children's agency UNICEF criticized Israel for its treatment of arrested Palestinian children, saying their interrogation mixes "intimidation, threats and physical violence, with the clear purpose of forcing the child to confess."

"Children have been threatened with death, physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault, against themselves or a family member," the report said.

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