Two more Palestinian children were hit with lengthy sentences by an Israeli court on Monday, 7 November. The two Jerusalemite boys, Munther Abu Mayalah, 15, and Mohammed Taha, 16, were each sentenced to 11 years in Israeli prison; each was also fined 50,000 NIS (approximately $13,000 USD).
The two boys are Palestinian refugees from the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem. Monther and Mohammed were accused of “attempted murder” for allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli settler youth at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on 30 January 2016. The 17-year-old in question was allegedly “lightly wounded.” They were also convicted of “possession of a knife.”
The sentences against the two boys come on top of the 12-year sentence meted out to 14-year-old Ahmad Manasrah, also yesterday. Israeli occupation prosecutors are seeking a 15-year sentence against 17-year-old Nurhan Awad. In Israeli courts, Palestinian children accused of “security” offenses are subject to sentencing equal to an adult for any offense carrying a potential sentence of greater than five years’ imprisonment. Such allegations include common pretexts for imprisoning Palestinian children, such as stone-throwing or affiliation with a prohibited organization.
These lengthy sentences against Palestinian children come hand in hand with the use of administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, against Palestinian minors, as well as the extrajudicial execution of 57 Palestinian children since October 2015. There are approximately 400 Palestinian children imprisoned now, mostly in Megiddo and Ofer prisons, including 13 Palestinian girls imprisoned in HaSharon prison.
We reiterate our message on the sentencing of Ahmad Manasrah and urge escalated international solidarity actions in response to the ongoing attacks on Palestinian children. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network condemns the sentencing of Monther Abu Mayalah, Mohammed Taha and Ahmad Manasrah, and demands their immediate release and that of all imprisoned Palestinian children. We further call for international action to compel the Israeli state to respect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and end international military aid and assistance that funds the imprisonment and torture of Palestinian children. The imprisonment, oppression, and killing of Palestinian children by the Israeli occupation is part and parcel of the Israeli colonial project in Palestine, and the only true freedom for Palestinian children will be achieved through the freedom of the Palestinian people and Palestinian land.