Athal Al-Azza: 14-year-old Palestinian boy released after 'being beaten' in Israeli detention

Athal Al-Azza: 14-year-old Palestinian boy released after 'being beaten' in Israeli detention
14-year-old Athal Al-Azza was released by an Israeli military court on Tuesday, but prosecutors will lodge an appeal in an effort to re-detain him.
2 min read
27 April, 2022
Athal Al-Azza was released under cash bail, according to Palestinian lawyer Munther Abu Ahmed [David Silverman/Getty-file photo]

A 14-year-old Palestinian boy was released on Tuesday after spending 11 days in Israeli detention.

An Israeli military court, located close to the Ofer army base in the occupied West Bank, let Athal Al-Azza out on bail, pan-Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported. Israeli prosecutors will lodge an appeal against his release, according to Palestinian lawyer Munther Abu Ahmed.

The boy's uncle, Mohammed Al-Azza, said his detention is further evidence of Israel's targeting of Palestinian children.

"They go after children and stop them from exercising their right to education, their right to freedom of movement, and the practice of their identity," he said.

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Israeli forces reportedly assaulted the young boy and then detained him as he travelled to his grandmother's home in the Azza, or Beit Jibrin, refugee camp in Bethlehem on 15 April.

Israeli forces detained Al-Azza at the entrance of Beit Jibrin and he was interrogated at the illegal settlement of Gush Etzion.

The teenager was moved more than once while held by Israeli forces before being taken to the Atarot settlement, according to his uncle.

The 14-year-old's release came as relatives and supporters of Al-Azza held a demonstration near the Ofer military court during Tuesday's session.

Children were filmed playing the violin to reflect Al-Azza's passion for music and the arts.

Al-Azza was forbidden from talking to his father during Sunday's court session and what appeared to be bruises could be seen on the boy's face, according to Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

"They are putting pressure on him and exposing him to bad psychological conditions," his father said.

Israel maintains a military judicial system across the occupied West Bank, which targets Palestinian children and adults. Israeli settlers living in the territory illegally are tried under civilian law.

Israel's use of military proceedings against civilians has been widely condemned as unjust by human rights organisations, particularly when children are involved.