Palestinian child prisoners’ sentencing delayed; new film focuses on imprisoned Jerusalemite kids

shadi-ahamadThe sentencing of two Palestinian child prisoners, Shadi Farrah and Ahmad al-Zaatari, was postponed until 15 January by the Israeli Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court on 29 November. The two boys were expected to be sentenced to two additional years of imprisonment, for a total of three years, on charges of possession of a knife and attempting to carry out a resistance action because of having a knife in their bag. The two boys were seized by occupation forces as they stood at a bus stop in their village of Kufr Aqab.

Shadi and Ahmad have been imprisoned since 30 December 2015. The sentencing is part of a plea agreement that was accepted by the families of the two boys due to the looming threat of their 14th birthday, at which point the two face sentencing equivalent to that of adults. Following the 12-year sentence given to 14-year-old Ahmad Manasrah – whose own trial was repeatedly postponed until he reached the age of 14- as well as the lengthy sentences of Muawiya Alqam, Munther Abu Mayalah, Mohammed Taha and Nurhan Awad, Shadi’s family said that the Israeli prosecution threatened to delay his sentencing past his 14th birthday. Shadi’s family has found it very difficult to see him and he has had a particularly difficult experience of imprisonment as he is held in a juvenile detention facility with “criminal” youth Israeli prisoners, without fellow Palestinian prisoners and separate from the large prisons to which group family visits are arranged.

As the 13- and 14-year old boys face years of imprisonment, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association released a new 11-minute video, “Precarious Childhood,” on 29 November, focusing on the plight of Palestinian Jerusalemite child prisoners like Shadi and Ahmad. The film includes an interview with Shadi’s mother, Farehan Farrah, who says: “I’m addressing all mothers all over the world, if they would put themselves in my shoes for a moment, or for a night, where her child is away from her, taken away, by force and unjustly. How would a mother feel? My child, who every morning before going to school, gives me a hug, that moment, I would not trade it for the world.”

The video provides a range of interviews with former prisoners, child prisoners’ families, lawyers and others. Watch online or screen this film at your next event:

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