An Israeli court extends solitary confinement to Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Manasra, who suffers from mental health problems.
Occupied East Jerusalem – An Israeli court has extended the solitary confinement of Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Manasra, who suffers from severe mental health problems.
A hearing for the 21-year-old was held Tuesday in Beer Sheva district court, where authorities ruled to extend his solitary confinement by six months. His time in solitary confinement will end in May.
The extension means Manasra will be in solitary until November. After that, he will have to spend a year in an isolated cell, cutting off normal contact with others Palestinian prisoners.
“This is a form of slow execution,” Manasra’s uncle, who bears the same name, Ahmad Manasra, told Al Jazeera.
“What is happening is the furthest thing from humanity,” he said. “Isolating him made his mental health worse.”
Manasra’s case has caused a global stir since he was arrested at the age of 13 and questioned under horrific circumstances in 2015.
His cousin, then 15 years old, was shot dead by an Israeli civilian after accused of stabbing two Israelis settled in occupied East Jerusalem. Manasra herself was attacked by a group of Israelis and run over by an Israeli driver, with a skull fracture and internal bleeding..
The courts admitted that Manasra was not involved in the attack but still charged him with attempted murder. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2016then reduced to nine years.
Signs of his mental health declining began to emerge in late 2020, follow his familyand he has been in solitary confinement since the end of 2021.
‘Needs treatment, not punishment’
Khaled Zabarqa, Manasra’s attorney, said that in addition to allowing his client to be released early, what Israel refused to do“The court should have moved him to a shared prison” where other Palestinians could take care of him.
Zabarqa told Al Jazeera: “We told them that there are Palestinian prisoners who know his situation and are ready to take responsibility and take care of him.
“Putting him in solitary confinement is punishment for a child with a mental illness – he needs treatment,” said Zabarqa, who describes his client as “suffering” in the current circumstances. , not to be punished”.
Israeli authorities claim they are keeping Manasra in quarantine and under surveillance because he poses a threat to himself and other prisoners, his lawyer said.
In December 2021, an outside doctor was allowed to visit Manasra for the first time since his arrest. The doctor, a psychiatrist with Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF), issued a medical report, which has since been attached to his case file, saying that Manasra has schizophrenia.
In March 2022, the Palestine Global Mental Health Network launched a campaign calling for Manasra’s immediate release, which caused waves on social media with the hashtag #FreeAhmad Manasra.
In a statement, the network said, “Ahmad has been subjected to repeated punishment and abuse, numerous times of physical, psychological and social torture, including deprivation of family connections, visits and communication. with his parents and brothers, and was recently in solitary confinement.”