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The Only Democracy? » Discrimination » Palestinian Child Released on Bail After Nine Days in Military Prison

Palestinian Child Released on Bail After Nine Days in Military Prison

Ofer Prison Transfer Terminal

Earlier we posted an article about a 12-year old Palestinian boy who was to be tried as adult by the Israeli military court.  Up until recently, Palestinian children could be tried as adults as young as 12 years of age.  However, in July of 2009,  a military order was issued changing the age to 16 years of age.  Settler children cannot be tried as adults prior to the age of 18.  

Amira Hass reports  in Haaretz that on March 7, an Israel Defense Forces court  agreed to release from custody the boy (now identified as 13 years of age), who had been held for nine days on suspicion of throwing stones at soldiers. 

An Israel Defense Forces soldier detained the boy and his 11-year-old brother in Hebron’s Old City, on the afternoon of February 27.   According to court records, the  boy admitted to throwing stones. Unlike civil law, Israeli military law allows authorities to interrogate Palestinian minors at unreasonable hours, such as at night, and without a parent present.  

 On his first remand hearing on March 2, his father was unable to pay bail and the boy remained in Ofer military prison, along with adult prisoners.  He was released on Sunday without payment of bail.  

Lea Tsemel, the attorney representing the other inmates at Ofer told Haaretz she was stunned to see “a scrawny redheaded child in the suspects’ cage.”  Tsemel gave the boy a balloon (that she happened to buy for her grandchild) in order to remind those present in court of his age.

… Military law stipulates that only after an indictment is filed can minors be brought before an IDF court for juveniles. Therefore, the procedures followed in extending A.M.’s remand are those intended for adults.



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Carol Sanders was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She is a retired legal services attorney and author of legal texts. She lived in Israel from 1963 to 1966, where she worked on a kibbutz, did graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and served as an assistant to the then-mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek. Carol is a long-time activist with Jewish Voice for Peace, and is the JVP representative to the Middle East Advisory Committee and a member of Bay Area Women in Black.

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