Israeli court extends detention of Palestinian teen over stone throwing

12:00 Dec 13 2016 Ofer Military Court

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Israeli military court at Ofer detention center in the central occupied West Bank ruled on Tuesday to extend the remand of Palestinian teenager Samir Raja Daraghmeh, who was detained a day earlier over rock-throwing, after the court had initially decided to release him earlier on Tuesday.

Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) lawyer Munther Abu Ahmad said in a statement that the decision to extend Samir’s detention came after an appeal was presented by the Israeli prosecution objecting to the boy’s release.

According to Abu Ahmad, the boy is 13 years old, although an Israeli police spokesperson said on Monday that he was 15.

Abu Ahmad said that Israeli authorities accused Samir of rock-throwing and claimed that he represented “a threat to the safety of the public.”

Samir is from the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, and according to Abu Ahmad, he suffers from medical issues after sustaining injuries in a car accident and having parts of his kidneys and liver removed last year.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said Monday that Samir was among a number of Palestinian minors who were throwing stones at Israeli cars on Route 60 opposite al-Lubban al-Sharqiya, but Israeli forces were unable to detain the others involved in the alleged rock throwing.

Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone throwing every year, with Israeli rights group B'Tselem reporting that from 2005 to 2010, "93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months."

Israeli authorities have also dramatically escalated their crackdown on Palestinian youth who are caught throwing rocks, with Israel passing a law last year setting sentences up to 20 years in prison for stone throwing if intent to harm could be proven, and a minimum prison sentence of three years for throwing a stone at an Israeli.

In September, Israeli courts sentenced four Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem, including two minors, to prison for throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Last month, Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr in Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, after soldiers claimed he was among a group of youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.

Palestinians have claimed that rock throwing by teenagers is a natural reaction to frustrations caused by the nearly half-century Israeli military occupation, which has been shaped by everyday forms of violence, such as nightly military raids into Palestinian communities, arbitrary detentions, home demolitions, and frequent killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces.
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