In the latest outrage in a case that has come to exemplify the Israeli occupation’s war on Palestinian childhood, Ahmed Manasra — now 20 — was ordered to another four months in solitary confinement on 24 November 2022 by an occupation court. Manasra has been imprisoned for over seven years, since he was 13 years old.
After watching his cousin shot dead by settlers before his eyes, suffering a critical injury, experiencing torture and harsh interrogation while separated from his parents, and then being held for years in occupation prisons, Ahmed developed serious psychological illness. Rather than providing him with care or releasing him in response to the numerous appeals of his family and lawyers, Israeli occupation forces instead have held him in solitary confinement for the past year, intensifying his suffering even further.
On 12 October 2015, Manasrah was severely injured while his cousin, Hassan, 15, was killed. Ahmad and Hassan were accused of attempting to stab a settler as part of the ongoing uprising taking place in Jerusalem. Hassan was shot by settlers and killed on the street, while Ahmad was run over by settlers and seriously injured. Video of settlers screaming and cursing at the bleeding Ahmad and yelling that he should die was widely circulated via social media.
He was sentenced to 12 years in occupation prisons — later reduced to 9 1/2 years — over a year later, on 7 November 2016, after the Israeli occupation deliberately delayed his trial in order to impose a higher sentence upon him after he turned 14 years old.
Palestinian lawyer Jamil Saadeh noted upon Ahmad’s conviction that “the occupation deliberately kept the child Ahmed Manasra imprisoned inside a reform center until he reached the legal age for full sentencing under Israeli law, which is the age of 14 years…The court did not take into account what he suffered from the moment of his detention, being wounded, assaulted and cursed, treated inside the hospital as a threat, and screamed at during interrogation by the officers, all of which is documented on video and condemns the occupation.”
Over 400,000 people around the world have signed a petition calling for Manasra’s release. Today, European Union officials called for Manasra’s freedom after observers attended the trial session, noting that solitary confinement of over 15 days is considered a form of torture as well as his psychological vulnerabilities. His lawyer, Khaled Zabarqa, noted that he had recently visited Manasra and that his life and health is at severe risk. On 22 October 2022, Manasra was involuntarily moved to the Ramle psychiatric hospital.
Manasra’s lawyers sought his release after serving two-thirds of his sentence; in response, occupation officials classified his case as a “terrorism case,” preventing them from seeking his early release. Instead, occupation authorities have kept Ahmed in solitary confinement, extended once again today.
Ahmed’s mother made it clear: “Freedom is his healing…He is the son of all Palestinians.”
Ahmed Manasra is a Palestinian political prisoner who has been abused by the occupation all of his life, growing up under colonization and subjected to physical and psychological torture for over one-third of his years.
His case represents the struggle of the nearly 700 children every year who are brought before occupation military courts — not to mention the many more who are subjected to violent night raids, torture and abuse, solitary confinement, settler invasions, home demolitions, abductions of family members, siege, extrajudicial killings and other violations from their earliest moments in life. These crimes against Ahmed and Palestinian children are made possible by the ongoing support to the occupier provided by imperialist powers, including the United States, Canada and the European Union.
Freedom for Ahmed Manasra — and freedom for Palestine, from the river to the sea!