Palestinian boy sentenced to 12 years in Israeli jail

Palestinian boy sentenced to 12 years in Israeli jail
Palestinian teenager Ahmed Manasra has been given the maximum sentence by a Israeli court for his role in the stabbing of two Israelis when he was aged just 13.
2 min read
07 November, 2016
The boy could spend the next 12 years in jail [AFP]

An Israeli court has sentenced a Palestinian teenager to 12 years in prison for his part in the stabbing of two Israelis.

Ahmed Manasra, aged 14, was earlier found guilty of the attempted murder of a 20-year-old and a 12-year-old boy in a Jewish settlement in occupied east Jerusalem.

He was aged just 13 at the time of the October 2015 attack and his imprisonment led to a propaganda war between Palestinians and Israelis, sparked by surveillance footage later released of the incident.

Manasra carried out the attack along with his 15-year-old cousin Hassan, who was shot dead by security forces. The two Israelis were seriously wounded.

In addition to the jail term, the Jerusalem district court ordered Manasra to pay 80,000 shekels ($21,000, 19,000 euros) in compensation to the adult victim and 100,000 to the boy, the ruling said.

His lawyer Lea Tsemel said she planned to appeal the sentence.

The sentencing and trial were closed to journalists because Manasra is a minor. Prosecutors had requested 12 years.

"Although the accused was a minor, he tried to harm human life and there is no other option than to give him jail time," prosecutor Yuval Keidar said.

Manasra had earlier pleaded not guilty, saying he had not personally stabbed either of the victims and had only intended to frighten them.

The teenager appeared calm as he entered and left the courtroom in east Jerusalem on Monday. His father refused to speak to journalists.

"Our defeat, of the legal team, is a very small defeat compared to the wide and deep defeat of both the Israeli society and the court," said defence lawyer Lea Tsemel.

She said that "everyone talked about the full rehabilitation he is going through. Everyone talked about a kid who's not dangerous at all. And despite this, the court approved the prosecution's claim and gave him the full sentence, plus an unimaginable and not-possible fine."

The video footage released Israeli authorities in the wake of the attack purported to show the cousins following the Israeli victims with knives in their hands.

It also showed Manasra - who was hit by a car as they fled - lying bleeding on the ground in the aftermath of the attack while Israeli onlookers shouted abuse.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claimed the boy was "executed" while Israel scrambled to release video of him sitting up and eating in a Jerusalem hospital bed.

Since October 2015, violence has claimed the lives of 238 Palestinians, 36 Israelis, two Americans, a Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese, according to an AFP count.