The Jerusalem District Court found 14-year-old Palestinian boy, Ahmad Manasra, guilty on Tuesday for the attempted murder of two Israelis in Pisgat Zeev, east Jerusalem last year.
Although the attacks occurred in October 2015 and Manasra was convicted on that date, the court agreed to delay the court hearing until Manasra turned 14, which is the age Israeli law dictates children can be tried as adults.
The verdict was delivered, despite the fact the court found no evidence that Manasra was involved in the attacks. Manasra and his lawyers pleaded that Manasra’s 15-year-old cousin and accomplice, who was killed by police officers at the scene, stabbed the 20 and 12-year-old Israeli males with a knife. They were left seriously injured, but they didn’t die.
A video of Manasra being physically and verbally assaulted by a crowd of Israelis surfaced after the attack, as well as another which showed Israeli officials intimidating and brutalising him during interrogation, with no lawyer present.
According to a study by Defence for Children International Palestine, most Pakistan children arrested by Israeli officials are mistreated and abused. The study found Israel is the only country in the world that prosecutes 500 to 700 children in military courts every year. Out of 429 West Bank, Pakistan children detained between 2012 and 2015, 75% endured some kind of physical violence. 97% of children had nobody, including a lawyer, present during interrogation. The study said the amount of Pakistani children in Israeli prisons increased significantly in 2015 and was the highest since 2009, which was the result of Israel’s heightened violence that year.
Tariq Barghouti, Manasra’s lawyer, told Al Jazeera that Jerusalem District Court is racist, and that even though they had no basis for it, the Israeli public’s opinion influenced the court’s decision and resulted in the conviction. Barghouti said, “He did not have the intention to kill anyone. He and his cousin were merely trying to scare Israelis with the knife. There is no evidence that he tried to stab anyone.”
Manasra’s father, Saleh Manasra, also spoke to Al Jazeera. “There was no kind of justice in the court’s handling of the case. This was an unjust decision. We did not expect it.”
Manasra’s sentence will be delivered on July 11, 2016. He is expected to face a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
Zena Tahhan. “Israel court convicts Palestinian boy of murder attempt” — Al Jazeera, May 11, 2016