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Israeli court sentences 14-year-old Palestinian boy to 6 1/2 years in prison

July 17, 2016 9:41 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2016 4:29 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- An Israeli military court on Sunday sentenced 14-year-old Muawiya Alqam to six-and-a-half years in prison, after being accused of carrying out a stab attack with his 12-year-old cousin in Jerusalem in November.

Muawiya’s sentence also included three-years of probation with an automatic ten-month prison sentence upon violation of the probation, and his family was ordered to pay a fine of 26,000 shekels (approximately $6,718).

The sentence confirms the plea bargain reached by Muawiya’s lawyer with the Israeli military prosecutor earlier this month.

In November, Muawiya was indicted on charges of attempted murder and possession of a knife.

Israeli forces shot and wounded Muawiya’s 12-year-old cousin Ali Alqam after the two allegedly stabbed and injured an Israeli security guard on the light rail near the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in northern Jerusalem.

Ali, who was shot at least three times on the scene and had to undergo surgery to remove a bullet from his stomach, is currently being held at a juvenile rehabilitation center since Israeli authorities decided to uphold his one-year detention in April.

Meanwhile, Muawiya has been moved between Israel's Russian Compound, HaSharon, and Megiddo prisons.

According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, 414 of the 7,000 Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons are minors. As of May, an estimated 104 of these youths were under the age of 16.

Israel’s widespread practice of detaining Palestinian children, sometimes in the same prison facilities as adults, has been criticized as breaching the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Israel ratified in 1991.

The convention states that “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.”

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