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Palestinian teenage girl convicted of 'attempted murder' in Jerusalem court

Feb. 14, 2017 7:05 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 16, 2017 4:48 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli magistrate's court in Jerusalem convicted an imprisoned Palestinian teenage girl on charges of attempted murder and possession of a knife on Tuesday.

According to defense lawyer Ramzi Kteilat, 17-year-old Malak Muhammad Salman was convicted for allegedly attempting to stab Israeli officers on Feb. 9, 2016 at the Damascus Gate entrance to occupied East Jerusalem's Old City.

Israeli police claimed at the time that they stopped Salman for "moving in a suspicious way," and then asked her to open her bag for inspection, when the teen allegedly pulled out a knife and attempted to stab the officers who “quickly controlled her without injuries."

Salman has been held in Israel’s HaSharon prison since her detention, and Kteilat said that the girl would have another court session for sentencing on March 26.

Salman’s conviction is the latest in an Israeli crackdown on young Jerusalemite Palestinians, many of them women, who have been accused of involvement in attacks, while Israeli authorities have ordered lengthy prison sentences for Palestinians as young as 14 years old in both East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces have detained a number of Palestinians for allegedly being in possession of knives or having intentions to carry out attacks following a wave of unrest that began in October 2015. However, Israeli authorities' version of events have been challenged in a number of incidents, while rights groups have also widely documented the mistreatment, abuse, and torture of Palestinian youth in detention, and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions.

Meanwhile, despite having more rights on paper than Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank who are subject to a draconian military detention system, in practice, Jerusalem minors “do not enjoy their enshrined rights” under a discriminatory Israeli civilian court system, according to rights group Defense for Children International - Palestine.

On Sunday, an Israeli court sentenced Huthaifa Ishaq Taha, a 17-year-old resident of the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, to 12 years in prison over charges of attempting to carry out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem more than a year earlier.

Earlier this month, an Israeli court sentenced 16-year-old Manar Majdi Shweiki to six years in prison after being charged with knife possession and planning a stab attack.

Last month, an Israeli military court sentenced 16-year-old Amal Jamal Qabha to 18 months in prison for allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier last year.

Some of the harsher sentences to be handed down recently include a 35-year sentence to a 22-year-old Jerusalemite for allegedly assisting in a deadly stabbing attack, an eight-and-a-half-year sentence for an alleged stabbing attempt by a 17-year-old East Jerusalem girl, 16 years in prison for a 19-year-old Palestinian girl who was shot and injured while allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli settler, while a Palestinian youth was sentenced to 18 years in prison for allegedly throwing a rock at an Israeli vehicle that caused the death of an Israeli -- representing the harshest sentence ever handed down for stone-throwing.

In January, prisoners’ rights group Addameer reported that Israel was holding 53 female Palestinian prisoners and some 300 Palestinian minors.

According to Addameer, among those detained between October 2015 and August 2016 were 13 underage girls, some of whom were wounded when Israeli forces detained them.

The group has also reported on the treatment of Palestinian women prisoners by Israeli prison authorities, stating that the majority of Palestinian women detainees were subjected to "psychological torture" and "ill-treatment" by Israeli authorities, including "various forms of sexual violence that occur such as beatings, insults, threats, body searches, and sexually explicit harassment.”
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