Days of Palestine

Wednesday, May 31

Amnesty International: Palestinian Prisoner Arrested as a Child, Ahmad Manasra, Still in Prison despite Worsening Mental Health

Days of Palestine -

Israeli occupation authorities must immediately release Ahmad Manasra, a 20-year-old Palestinian man who has developed serious mental health problems since his arrest as a child seven years ago, Amnesty International said.

In 2015, the occupation authorities arrested Ahmad Manasra, who was then 13 years old, and harshly interrogated and threatened him without a lawyer present. He has been in prison ever since, and in solitary confinement since early November 2021. Ahmad has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, is suffering from psychotic delusions, and is severely depressed with suicidal thoughts.

“Ahmad Manasra has been subjected to a catalogue of injustices by the Israeli authorities, including deleterious effects of incarceration on his development and prolonged solitary confinement. He endured ill-treatment during interrogations, which were conducted without his parents or lawyers’ presence, and was denied the right to a fair trial. He should have been released a long time ago, yet he remains in unnecessary suffering in Israeli prisons,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Pending his release from detention, he must be given access to adequate medical care and never be placed in solitary confinement again. Allegations of torture and other human rights violations that Ahmad has suffered must be effectively and transparently investigated.”

On 19 June 2022, Beersheba District Court will review Ahmad Manasra’s eligibility for early release under Israel’s Parole Law of 2001.

Ahmad Manasra’s mental health has worsened during his incarceration. In October 2021 an independent Israeli clinical psychologist working with Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI) diagnosed him with severe psychiatric conditions, and stated these had developed since his incarceration.

Ahmad Manasra’s parents said in February 2022 that their son had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and that he is suffering from psychotic delusions, and is severely depressed with suicidal thoughts.

His lawyer, Khaled Zabarqa, told Amnesty International: “We have asked the Israel Prison Service to release Ahmad into home and community care as a matter of urgency because there is a real danger to his life. The prison doctors themselves recognized as much in their report on 13 June which led to his transfer from the prison cell to the prison hospital.”