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Israel agrees to early release of 12-year-old Palestinian prisoner

April 12, 2016 1:47 P.M. (Updated: April 12, 2016 4:47 P.M.)
(AFP/Saif Dahlah, File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A 12-year-old Palestinian girl charged by an Israeli military court with attempted manslaughter is expected to be released early following requests filed by her parents, a lawyer said Tuesday.

Iyad Misk, who heads the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners' Affars' legal department, told Ma'an that the Israeli prison service had agreed to the early release of Dima al-Wawi, believed to be the youngest female Palestinian prisoner held by Israel.

Palestinian lawyer Abeer Bakr applied for the child's early release on behalf of her parents last week, Misk said, adding that it is now expected that al-Wawi will be released on April 24, around two months earlier than her original sentence.

The 12-year-old's parents, backed by a public campaign, sought to end their daughters' detention, which they said violated both Israeli and international law regarding the detention of children.

While Israeli law does not allow prison sentences for children under the age of 14, Israeli military law -- which applies to Palestinians living under military occupation in the West Bank -- allows for children as young as 12 to be charged for "nationalistic-motivated" violent offenses.

Al-Wawi was detained on Feb. 9 and sentenced in an Israeli military court on Feb. 18 for attempted voluntary manslaughter and the illegal possession of a knife, after she allegedly went to the illegal Karmei Tzur settlement with the intention of stabbing settlers.

Her detention was caught on tape and broadcast by Israeli Channel 1, where the girl is recorded admitting her intention to carry out a stabbing attack.

Al-Wawi's parents were also forced to pay 8,000 shekels ($2,100) in the plea deal.

Al-Wawi's lawyer, Bakr, told Israeli daily Haaretz the 12-year-old girl was being held with adult Palestinian prisoners and faced restrictions generally applied by Israel's prison service to so-called "security" prisoners, including denial of visits from both her family and a social worker.

Violations against Palestinian children in Israel's military court system are widely documented. Over the past six months, the number of Palestinian child detainees has more than doubled, with 406 Palestinian children in Israeli custody as of February.

Among those, 108 are under the age of 16, and children's rights group Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) has said that three out of four Palestinian child detainees experience physical violence during arrest, transfer, or interrogation by Israeli forces.
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