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Sunday March 4, 2012 2:00 PM (EST+7)
WITNESS: Israel's military courts try a child

Read more: Qalandia, court, law, military court, Ofer, checkpoints, youth, teenagers, children, woman and child, occupation

RAMALLAH, March 4 (JMCC) - Israeli activist Tamar Fleishman has observed numerous trials in Israel's military court near Ramallah, where she volunteers weekly to watch operations at the main Qalandia checkpoint.

In this comment for Palestine Chronicle, she describes the hearing of Ibrahim Abu El-Aish, a 16-year-old from Qalandia refugee camp that adjoins the checkpoint.

None of Ibrahim's family members were present, there was no one to give him words of encouragement or a supportive look. It took a while until I managed to catch his attention, to detect a sparkle of acquaintance, to greet him and get a frail response, a smile, tilt of the head. A little detached. As though only his body was present. As if he had shrunken himself and made himself smaller than he actually was. The face of a child, the body of a child, but according to the laws of occupations, a man was on trial.

I entered when the judge Moshe Levi announced: An indictment had been served on the grounds of sabotaging an IDF facility which caused damage to the blockage, a metal bar, that belonged to the security forces.

Meaning, that Ibrahim was caught in front of the checkpoint while wiggling the metal bar that blocked the vehicle lane to Ramallah.

The procedure:

- The defense attorney requested that the teenager be released: The defendant didn't cause any damage. It was a child's game at the checkpoint, at Qalandiya passage, all the children play it and no damage was caused to the bar.

- The representative on behalf of the prosecution requested that the bail be set for 3,000 Shekels on top of some additional terms.

- The defense attorney: In light of the financial status of the family and in light of the circumstances and the minimal damage caused, a hundred should suffice.

- The judge: There is a prior conviction of stone throwing. It was indeed nothing more than a folly of youth with no actual intent to cause severe damage to an IDF facility. And as a humanitarian gesture he ordered that the prisoner be released under terms that amounted to 5,750 Shekels (= payment + bail + bail from a third party) and set a date for a proceeding meeting in which the indictment would be read.

In light of the financial status of Ibrahim's family, the sum set for his temporal release was unattainable, the terms weren't fulfilled and Ibrahim wasn't released. 







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