Israel extends solitary confinement of Ahmed Manasra, Palestinian detained since childhood

Israel extends solitary confinement of Ahmed Manasra, Palestinian detained since childhood
Manasra, who was 13 when he was detained, has been in solitary confinement for over 16 months.
2 min read
14 March, 2023
Manasra's family fear for his health and mental state in continued isolation [Getty images]

Twenty-one-year-old Palestinian prisoner Ahmed Manasra has been denied his freedom again after an Israeli court on Monday extended his detention in solitary confinement by at least another six months. 

Manasra, who was arrested at the age of 13 in 2015 after being run over by an Israeli police vehicle and beaten on the head by Israeli settlers, suffers from severe psychological damage due to his detention, lack of medical treatment, and isolation.

He is being held in the isolation section of the Eishel prison in the Negev desert.

"After being imprisoned as a child, and most recently spending a year and a half in solitary confinement, Ahmed has been detained for yet another six months," said Manasra’s father outside the courtroom.  "His health is deteriorating, and his mind is struggling to cope." 

An Israeli judge said that Manasra should remain in solitary confinement due to being a danger to himself. 

He was initially sentenced to 12 years, after being charged with assisting his cousin in an attempt to stab an Israeli in Jerusalem. His cousin was shot and killed on the spot.

His sentence was later lowered to nine years in prison.

In April 2022, an Israeli court referred Manasra's case to a special committee to determine whether to maintain the "terrorism" charges against him. 

The committee ruled in favour of maintaining the charge in June, and he was denied parole.

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Manasra will now remain in solitary confinement until at least September, although his lawyer, Khaled Zabarqa, said that he will appeal the decision again. 

Israeli human rights group Adalah slammed the decision to extend Manasra's solitary confinement, pointing out that he had already spent 16 months in isolation.

"The court unquestionably accepts the state's arguments, condoning inhumane practices, such as prolonged solitary confinement, which is considered torture under international law," the group said in a statement.

"The behaviour of Israeli Prison Services, the State's Attorney, and the judiciary demonstrate their unmistakable intention to keep Ahmad Manasra in solitary confinement indefinitely, disregarding his mental health condition, and dismissing any alternative treatment plan."