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Israeli Supreme Court rules to reduce 12-year sentence of Ahmad Manasra

Aug. 10, 2017 4:10 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 13, 2017 11:31 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Supreme Court reduced the sentence of 15-year-old Palestinian Ahmad Manasra, who was involved in a stabbing attack in 2015, from 12 years to nine-and-a-half on Thursday, after his family had appealed the lengthy prison sentence.

Manasra and his 15-year-old cousin Hassan Khalid Manasra stabbed and critically wounded two Israelis, aged 13 and 21, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Oct. 12, 2015. At the time of the attack, Manasra was just 13.

During the attack, Hassan was shot dead at the scene by Israeli forces, while Ahmad was knocked over by a car and seriously wounded.

A video of Ahmad lying injured and bloody on the ground after being hit by the car was uploaded to social media and went viral. In the footage, an Israeli onlooker can clearly be heard saying: "Die, son of a wh***! Die!" while another tells the police officer to shoot him.

In video footage obtained by Ma'an a month after the attack, Israeli officials were captured on film hurling abuse at Manasra, then 13, during his interrogation.

According to Israeli media, the decision was made to reduce Manasra’s sentence by two-and-a-half years in part due to evidence that Manasra played a secondary role in the attack.

“We can also not ignore the appellant’s extremely young age and his rehabilitation process,” the Supreme Court judges reportedly said.

According to Israeli media, Israeli prison authorities had also requested the sentence reduction owing to Manasra’s behavior since the crime took place.

The decision was taken “in view of the way the appellant dealt with the crimes he committed, the insights he gained from it, his good behavior during his stay in the secure (youth) facility and now in jail, and the Probation Service’s impression that a long prison term may have undesirable consequences for him,” the judges' ruling stated.

The family had also challenged the hefty fines placed on the family. But this request was rejected by the Supreme Court, leaving the family to pay $27,872 in fines for the 13-year-old Israeli who was injured, and $22,298 for the other Israeli injured.

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.

According to prisoners’ rights groups Addameer, a total of 320 Palestinian minors are currently incarcerated in Israeli prisons.

Interrogations of Palestinian children can last up to 90 days according to Addameer, while in addition to being beaten and threatened, cases of sexual assault and placement in solitary confinement to elicit confessions are also reported, while confession documents the minors are often forced to sign are in Hebrew -- a language most Palestinians do not speak.
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