RAMALLAH, Wednesday, June 22, 2022: An Israeli parole committee today designated the case of Ahmad Manasra, who was arrested at age 13 after being involved in a stabbing attack against Israelis in Jerusalem, as “terrorism”, according to Manasra’s defense team, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
The defense team said that the Israeli Prison Service’s (IPS) Parole Committee decided to designate the case of Manasra, 20, who has developed serious mental health problems since his arrest as a child seven years ago due to severe interrogation methods and torture, as a case of “terrorism”.
It slammed the decision as “legally and constitutionally flawed” and as a “gross violation of the legal and constitutional bases of the local and international legal system, particularly the legal system pertaining to minors.”
On Sunday, Israel’s Ramleh Magistrate’s Court reviewed Manasra’s eligibility for early release under Israel’s Parole Law of 2001 but did not issue a decision despite the prisoner’s harsh health and psychological condition.
Saleh Manasra, Ahmad’s father, said that his son did not attend the session on Sunday because of his poor condition, as he is being held in the Ramleh prison clinic, and every day he stays there, his condition worsens.
Ahmed Manasra’s lawyer, Khaled al-Zabarqa, confirmed that during his visit to the prisoner Manasra on June 16 that there were traces of wounds along his left arm up to the wrist, as well as traces of wounds on his right arm.
During this meeting, Ahmed did not communicate visually or verbally with Zabarqa, and he seemed to show signs of illness and general exhaustion.
According to the advice of the psychological staff, who is following up on his case with the defense team, this situation is very worrying. They added that there is a serious and real danger to the health and safety of Manasra due to his mental health condition if he continues to remain in the occupation prisons.
In light of this, the defense staff submitted an urgent request to the Israeli prison authority to release Manasra, immediately, due to the deterioration in his psychological and physical health condition.
On June 20, Amnesty International called for the immediate release of Manasra.
The international human rights organization pointed out that in 2015 Israeli authorities arrested Manasra, who was then 13 years old, and harshly interrogated and threatened him without a lawyer present. He has been in prison ever since, and in solitary confinement since early November 2021. Ahmad has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, is suffering from psychotic delusions, and is severely depressed with suicidal thoughts. On Wednesday he was moved to the Ramleh prison hospital in central Israel due to his deteriorating mental state.
“Ahmad Manasra has been subjected to a catalogue of injustices by the Israeli authorities, including deleterious effects of incarceration on his development and prolonged solitary confinement. He endured ill-treatment during interrogations, which were conducted without his parents or lawyers’ presence, and was denied the right to a fair trial. He should have been released a long time ago, yet he remains in unnecessary suffering in Israeli prisons,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Pending his release from detention, he must be given access to adequate medical care and never be placed in solitary confinement again. Allegations of torture and other human rights violations that Ahmad has suffered must be effectively and transparently investigated.”