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Prosecutor calls for Palestinian boy to receive 12-year sentence over alleged stabbing

Sept. 26, 2016 11:31 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 27, 2016 10:41 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli court in Jerusalem postponed on Sunday the sentencing of a 14-year-old Palestinian Ahmad Salih Manasra, as the prosecution called for the boy to spend 12 years in prison for allegedly stabbing and wounding two Israelis in a settlement in October.

Manasra, a resident of occupied East Jerusalem, was found guilty in May of carrying out a stabbing attack on Oct. 12, 2015 in the illegal settlement of Pisgat Zeev in East Jerusalem, injuring two Israelis ages 13 and 21.

Manasra’s cousin, 15-year-old Hassan Manasra, was shot dead at the scene of the attack. His body was withheld by Israeli authorities for seven months, finally returned to his family for burial in May after they rejected an earlier transfer due to his body being handed over completely frozen.

Manasra’s uncle, who is also called Ahmad Manasra, told Ma'an that the Israeli prosecution had recommended that the judges sentence his nephew to 12 years in prison -- not including the year he has already spent in detention -- and have him be moved from a juvenile detention facility to an adult prison.

The prosecutor also reportedly requested that Manasra’s family pay 480,000 shekels ($127,339.50) in compensation to the two Israelis who were injured in the attack.

Manasra's lawyer, Tariq Barghouth from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, confirmed that the Jerusalem district court had postponed its judgment in the case to Nov. 7.

Manasra’s uncle said that court security guards allowed only a small number of family members inside, and "those who were allowed in were not allowed to talk to Ahmad or check up on him after he fractured his hand while playing football inside the juvenile facility."

Manasra, who was 13 at the time of the attack, sustained serious wounds after an Israeli driver hit him with his car following the stabbing.

Video footage which went viral showed the Palestinian boy lying in pain on the ground after being hit by the car, while an Israeli bystander shouted repeatedly: "Die, you son of a whore!" and another tells the police officer to shoot him.

In November, video footage was leaked showing Israeli detectives screaming and swearing at Manasra during an interrogation, prompting the Palestinian Authority to denounce "gross violations" of international humanitarian law in the case.

Manasra’s trial was postponed a number of times, which some commentators alleged was a conscious move to delay the case until he turned 14 in January, at which time he became old enough under Israeli law to be given a prison sentence.

At the time of the verdict, Barghouth had called the court decision "contestable,” adding that it would likely be appealed. Manasra's legal team had pled not guilty to the charges, with Barghouth claiming that Manasra "did not have the will to stab or kill anyone, and any claims otherwise are fabrications and exaggerations of the incident" aiming to "kill his childhood.”

"Once again, the Israeli court proves its racist treatment of the Palestinians," the lawyer added, highlighting the “double standard” of the Israeli justice system when it comes to punishing Palestinians accused of committing crimes against Israelis, compared to cases of settlers attacking Palestinians.
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