Samidoun New York held its ninth weekly protest on Friday, 18 December, outside the local office of British-Danish security contractor G4S on Friday to demand Israel free the Hares Boys and all Palestinian political prisoners, and that the company end its services to Israeli checkpoints, detention centers, military and security forces, and prisons.
The Hares Boys are five Palestinian teenagers from the village of Hares blackmailed into accepting 15-years prison terms and exorbitant ‘fines’ for a crime that never happened, and all Palestinian political prisoners.
The five teenagers are being sentenced to 15 years in prison and are to pay a total of NIS 150,000 (~US $39,000 or €35,000) to the Israeli authorities. Failure to provide the exorbitant sum would, it is implied, result in more years of prison added to the boys’ sentences.
Ali Shamlawi, Mohammed Kleib, Mohammed Suleiman, Ammar Souf, and Tamer Souf have been kept in prison for 2 years and 8 months and are now being sentenced.
The five teenagers (16-17 years old at the time) from the village of Hares (Salfit governorate, West Bank, occupied Palestine) were kidnapped from their homes by the Israeli army in March 2013. The teens were accused of throwing stones at illegal settler cars, one of which drove under a truck that was parked along Route 5 near the village of Hares. The driver’s children were injured during the accident and one of them died two years later after pneumonia complications. The boys denied throwing stones but were forced to sign ‘confessions’ following torturous interrogations at the hands of Israeli secret services. There was never any evidence of the boys’ guilt but it is sadly a reality in the Israeli military court system that does not comply with due process and convicts Palestinians at a 99.7% rate.
After almost 3 years of routine hearings at Israeli military courts, where the boys were initially accused of ‘attempted murder’, they were told on 26 November 2015 that they are now being charged with manslaughter and are being sentenced to prison terms of 15 years, provided their families pay ‘fines’ of NIS 30,000 [US $7,750 or € 7,100] each by the deadline of 28 January 2016. Failure to pay the amount requested by the Israeli military court would, it is understood, result in each boy’s sentence being prolonged, possibly to at least 25 years in prison.
G4S, the world’s largest security company and second-biggest private employer, equips and maintains the Israeli detention centers and jails where Palestinian political prisoners, including children like the Hares Boys, are held and tortured, as well as the occupation forces and infrastructure that routinely massacre Palestinians while holding millions under military rule.
Samidoun New York is holding weekly protests outside the offices of G4S, demanding an end to G4S’ involvement in the oppression, torture and confinement of Palestinians and freedom for Palestinian prisoners.
Photos by Joe Catron: