Adalah asks Israel Supreme Court for permission to appeal rejection of Ahmad Manasra's early release

Adalah asks Israel Supreme Court for permission to appeal rejection of Ahmad Manasra's early release
3 min read
04 October, 2022
Palestinian legal rights group Adalah and lawyer Khaled Zabarqa submitted a motion on Monday asking for permission to appeal the rejection of Ahmed Manasra's early release request.
Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Manasra Manasra has mental health issues including schizophrenia [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency/Getty-file photo]

Lawyers asked Israel's Supreme Court on Monday for permission to appeal after a request for mentally ill Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Manasra's early release was rejected.

Last month, Be'er Sheva District Court upheld a parole committee decision not to review 20-year-old Manasra's request.

Palestinian legal rights group Adalah and lawyer Khaled Zabarqa submitted a motion requesting permission to appeal on Monday. They also called for a section of Israel's Counter-Terrorism Law to be cancelled.

Zabarqa said: "Israel's faulty legal management in the case of Ahmad Manasra has resulted in a series of multiple failures, starting with the severe sentence that Israel imposed on him as a [14]-year-old minor and ending with the denial of his request for early release."

Manasra was detained in 2015 at the age of 13 in connection with the stabbing and wounding of two Israelis in an illegal settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, Amnesty International said in June.

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The rights group said Manasra was found guilty of attempted murder in "proceedings marred by allegations of torture", even though the court found he did not participate in the stabbings.

He was initially handed a 12-year jail term as a 14-year-old in 2016, though this was later reduced to nine years and five months.

Manasra has mental health issues including schizophrenia and has spent much time in solitary confinement.

Adalah said in a press release that the Israeli parole committee used Section 40A of the country's Counter-Terrorism Law in deciding not to review Manasra's request for early release.

Adalah added that Monday's motion contended Section 40A, which is a 2018 amendment to the law, discriminates against Palestinians.

It does so by giving rise to "two separate legal tracks for prisoners by arbitrarily excluding individuals from early release" if the parole committee decides they were convicted of an "act of terror", the press release said.

The motion, which called for Section 40A to be cancelled, also raised other issues, such as the fact the provision can be retroactively applied – even to crimes committed prior to the Counter-Terrorism Law's 2016 enactment.

"Section 40A serves as a form of collective punishment and contradicts fundamental principles of criminal law," Adalah said in its press release.

"It is difficult to imagine a case that might illustrate more clearly why sweeping, blanket sentencing is blind to the circumstances of individual cases and contradicts the most basic principles of justice," said Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi and Adi Mansour, the Adalah attorneys who submitted the motion alongside Zabarqa.

"Time and again, Israel's Counter-Terrorism Law is proving to be one of the most dangerous tools available to Israeli authorities. It enables them to take revenge upon Palestinians – while creating separate legal mechanisms that are applied only to Palestinians.

"This is the case when Israel persecutes Palestinian human rights organizations, and it is also the case when Israel abuses Palestinian prisoners whose very lives are at stake."

UN human rights experts in July noted that Manasra was under the age of criminal responsibility at the time of his alleged offence.

The UN experts called for Manasra to be released, as did Amnesty in June.