Israel sends 17-year-old Palestinian to jail for 5 years

Jenin city/PNN/

An Israeli military court has sentenced a Palestinian minor from Jenin in the occupied West Bank to five years in prison.

Samer Abdul-Karim Awais is 17 years of age and Israeli forces arrested him more than a year ago.

He has been interrogated in harsh circumstances at the Petah Tikva detention center over the past few months. The teenager is also said to have been tortured.

Awais’s father is already serving life imprisonment. The young Palestinian has been denied a visit to his parent.

His brother Hassan was also arrested in 2004. Hassan is serving a double life sentence in addition to another 20 years.

Samer had an uncle who was killed in an operation by Israeli helicopters in the Amari refugee camp in 2002.

In April, the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission said in a report that nearly 200 Palestinian children were kept behind bars in Israeli prisons in inhumane conditions.

Qadri Abu Baker, the head of the Commission, denounced the UN at the time for failing to “provide the minimum protection for the Palestinian children” against the physical and psychological abuse in Israeli jails.

Abu Baker said Israeli forces had arrested more than 17,000 minors since 2000. In most cases, he added, the children under the age of 10 were detained.

According to figures by the Defense for Children International, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children at the age of 12-17 are arrested and tried in Israeli military courts every year.

Detention of Palestinian children by the Israeli regime violates Article 33 and Article 34 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to which the parties must protect children from abduction and all forms of exploitation.

Israel has a long history of wounding and killing Palestinian children, especially during anti-occupation protests.

In March 2019, UNICEF said about 40 Palestinian children had been killed and hundreds more wounded in a year of anti-occupation protests along the fence that separates the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Separately, Palestinian media reports said on Monday that Israeli forces had kidnapped three Palestinians in a series of raids across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The circumstances surrounding the kidnappings are yet unknown, but Israeli forces carry out such swoops on a near-daily basis, taking away Palestinians, whom the regime usually accuses of acting against its ‘interests.’

Israel holds more than 7,000 Palestinians in its jails. Most of the prisoners are being held with no indictment or trial, under a controversial policy known as administrative detention.