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Israeli court finds Palestinian teen not guilty of stone-throwing

June 23, 2016 2:35 P.M. (Updated: June 23, 2016 10:28 P.M.)
Palestinian civilians and patrolling Israeli riot policemen bump into one another in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on April 15, 2011. (AFP/Ahmed Gharabli, File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- An Israeli court found a Palestinian teenager not guilty of rock-throwing on Thursday, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said.

PPS lawyer Elia Theodori said that 15-year-old Abdullah Muhammad Fayiz Qassem from Ramallah had been detained on May 12 and accused of throwing rocks on his way back from school.

The Israeli prosecution took the testimony of Israeli soldiers that Qassem was throwing rocks, claims which Qassem denied, Theodori said.

The lawyer added that the Ofer prison court issued the innocent verdict with a 72-hour suspension period to allow for the prosecution to appeal.

Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone-throwing every year, and Israeli rights group B'Tselem reported that from 2005 to 2010, "93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months."

In July, legislation was passed in the Israeli Knesset allowing sentencing for up to 20 years for someone convicted of throwing stones at vehicles, with the possibility of receiving a 20-year sentence if intent can be proven. However, the law allows the Israeli state to imprison someone for up to 10 years without proof of intent.

In November, Israel established legislation sentencing Palestinians to a minimum of three years in prison for the act of throwing a stone at an Israeli. Included in the legislation are provisions allowing Israeli authorities to strip stone throwers of their state benefits and canceling access to national health insurance and social services for the families of the accused.
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