Imprisoned Palestinian boy, Khaled al-Sheikh, 14, from Beit Annan in Jerusalem area, has now been imprisoned for 40 days, accused of “throwing stones.” Along with 14-year-old girl Malaak al-Khatib, also accused of “throwing stones,” he is one of the youngest of the Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. Malaak was sentenced to two months in Israeli prison and a 6000 NIS ($1500 USD) fine, which her parents struggled to pay. Between 150 and 200 Palestinian child prisoners are currently held in Israeli prisons. Take action: demand the release of Khaled, Malaak and all Palestinian child prisoners.
Al-Sheikh’s father, Hussam, speaking with Ahrar Center, said that his son has health conditions, including anemia, and is not receiving treatment. He is a tenth grade student, arrested on 12 December 2014 next to the separation wall near their village, and currently imprisoned in Ofer prison. He has had three sessions in his trial for throwing stones; this is a common charge against any Palestinian participating in a demonstration, and particularly is frequently used against child prisoners. He will be brought before the military court again on 11 February. The al-Sheikh family has been denied permits to visit Khaled for unstated “security” reasons, and they have not been allowed to touch him, hug him or talk to him privately during the court hearings, where he was shackled hand and foot despite his youth. “The normal place for children is their school or playground and not prison,” he concluded.
In February 2015, the Israeli army also announced that it was suspending a “pilot program” in the West Bank for the issuing of written summonses instead of arresting children at night. “No statistics were kept” on the pilot program; however, Military Court Watch reports that in 67% of cases where written summonses were issued, this was still done through military home raids after midnight that continue to traumatize children and their families. MCW noted that “no genuine attempt has been made by the military authorities to effectively replace night arrests with summonses and that the pilot programme has not been implemented in good faith.” Defence for Children International Palestine has also reported extensively on the abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons.
1. Sign this petition calling on European parliamentarians to take action: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Members_of_European_Parliament_Pressure_Israel_to_release_Palestinian_Child_Prisoners/?pv=1
2. Take action for Palestinian prisoners: protest at an Israeli consulate or embassy, or hold an educational event. Share this alert for Palestinian child prisoners.
3. Join the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions. Isolate Israel for its mass political imprisonment of Palestinians. Boycott products like HP and SodaStream, and demand an end to security contracts with G4S, which operates in Israeli prisons. Learn more at bdsmovement.net.