Thirteen-year-old Karam Dana tries to escape his fear by sleeping.
Last week, an Israeli military court ordered Dana to spend five months away from his home while he waits for trial on charges of throwing stones.
I did not do anything,” he says. “I was on my way home from school, and suddenly they arrested me and took me to Ofer prison. I was shaking from fear.
At trial, Dana, who lives in Hebron
’s old city in close proximity to an Israeli settler enclave of 500, will face his accusers – Israeli settlers.
The court has condemned my son. Settlers will testify against him in court with no consideration that the settlers might lie, especially those who occupy the Old City of Hebron,” says Dana’s father, Khaled.
In the meantime, Dana was held eight days for questioning, after which he was released on bail. Still, the court took the extraordinary measure of ordering him to stay away from his home and school for five months until his trial date.
Originally, the father had agreed to pay a fine to have his son released, but the court rejected the plea bargain. To cover Dana’s bail, the impoverished family had to take a loan from friends.
“I have ten children and earn 70 shekels [about $20] a day,” says father Khaled.
“This indictment is odd,” says attorney Jawad Boulos, “but there are many cases of such sentences for children in the history of the occupation.”
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, more than 200 minors were detained by Israeli forces in the Hebron region since the beginning of this year alone.
“We will not accept the deportation order, and will go to the Israeli high court to return this boy to his home and family,” says prisoner club head Qaddura Fares.
Israeli military law allows the arrest and trial of any child over the age of 12.