Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Palestinian girl, 12, charged with attempted manslaughter released from Israeli prison


By Bao Yen - April 25, 2016
TAGS:
Section: [Main News] [Behind Bars]
Tags: [Tulkarem] [child arrests] [Violence against children] [Occupation]

A 12-year-old Palestinian girl convicted of attempted manslaughter and illegal possession of a knife was released Sunday after spending two and half months in Israeli prison.

The girl, Dima al-Wawi, was escorted by the Israeli Police's Nachshon unit from Hasharon prison to Jubara checkpoint in the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem and handed over to representatives of Palestinian Authority, who then returned her to her family waiting at the crossing.

Dima was charged in a plea bargain of attempted voluntary manslaughter by an Israeli court in February, after she allegedly went to the Israeli settlement of Karmei Tzur north of Hebron on February 9, with the intention of perpetrating a knife attack.

The girl was however quickly restrained by an Israeli settler at the entrance of Karmei Tzur settlement, and was later apprehended by Israeli forces. She was found in possession of a knife hidden under her shirt.

The incident was caught on tape and broadcasted on Israeli Channel 1, in which she admitted of the intention to carry out the stabbing attack.

Dima was sentenced on Feb. 18 to four-and-a-half months in jail, becoming the youngest female Palestinian incarcerated by Israel. Dima's parents were also sentenced to an 8,000-shekel ($2,100) fine or eight months in jail.

Earlier in April, following the official request by Dima's parents, along with a public campaign demanding her release, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has agreed to released her two months early.

Dima's parents appealed on the grounds that her detention has violated both Israeli and international law, and that her arrest was based on a discriminatory practice against Palestinians. The family's attorney Abir Bachar added that the girl was kept in prison alongside adult prisoners, and as she was categorized as a security prisoner, she faced various restrictions and had been denied visits by social workers.

The appeal was backed by a public campaign supported by many Israelis and Palestinians who petitioned to end Dima's detention.

While Israeli law stipulates that minors under the age of 14 cannot be imprisoned, a draft law was proposed in the Knesset last November to allow children as young as 12 years old to be charged with "nationalistic-motivated" offenses.

 

Dima's father told Haaretz that his family was looking forward to see their daughter not behind bars again. "We'll have a little party for her at the house and we'll help her, because she really needs love and a warm embrace now, after this difficult period," he said.

 

Palestinian legislator, head of Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, said that Israel's detention of Dima in particular, and other Palestinian children in general, is a "direct violation of international law and all related human rights agreements."

 

Despite Dima's release, the number of Palestinian children held in Israeli prison is on the rise. According to the figures submitted by Israel Prison Service, there has been a sharp increase of Palestinian minors imprisoned for security-related offenses from 170 last September to 438 in February.

 

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