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Take Action: Interview with mother of youngest Palestinian prisoner’s mother

4th June 2016 | International Solidarity Movement, al-Quds – team | Jerusalem, occupied Palestine

According to Shadi, a 12 year old boy from Kufr Akab, which is part of Jerusalem but on the Palestinian side of the wall he, together with a friend of the same age decided to sneak over the separation wall that divides the Palestinian Territories from Israel, into Jerusalem. Although Shadi’s father has Israeli ID, they are obliged to live outside the wall because his mother has Palestinian ID. Their idea was to hang out for a bit and have a look round. Whilst they were standing at the Musrara light rail stop some Israelis heard them speaking in Arabic and reported them to the police. The police arrived and arrested them.

When Shadi’s friend first proposed the idea of going to Jerusalem Shadi had been reluctant as he understood the kind of problems that might arise. His friend was still keen to go and Shadi finally agreed on the basis that he could protect him if anything should happen.

The police took the boys to the Masqubiya interrogation centre. They were interrogated alone, without a legal representative or family member present. The boys were shouted at, beaten and given electric shocks. The interrogators made the boys strip, poured cold water on them then put the air conditioning on to cold.

Since they were arrested, over 4 months ago, the boys have made 11 court appearances. Initially, the court agreed to house arrest for Shadi on the payment of 5,000 shekels, ($1,333 approx) bail. Although the family paid this – money which they had to borrow – a subsequent court appearance, under a different judge, failed to release Shadi and he remains in detention.

Shadi has now been charged with possession of a knife with intent to kill. He is adamant that this is not true.

Shadi is the youngest prisoner under the Israeli occupation and he has been incarcerated in Al Marsa detention centre, a facility for minors, (older teenagers, both Palestinian and Israeli), in the north of Israel. There was some consternation when he arrived at the centre as it appeared they were not prepared for the arrival of such a young child.

Although the staff at the detention centre treat him quite well, the problems are with the other, older boys some of whom harass and bully him. Shadi has headaches all the time and pain in his eyes but has not seen a doctor. He doesn’t sleep well as he is afraid of the other inmates. He is in a situation where if he should defend himself against harassment and bullying and ends up in a fight this will go on his file and will be bad for him.

Al Masra allows weekly family visits on Sundays but Shadi’s mother is only able to visit monthly due to the expense of travelling to and from the centre. The family are not well off and legal fees, bail and travel expenses amount to more than they are able to afford. Because of the distance and difficulties of getting there, it is necessary to take a taxi for the day which costs approximately 800 shekels, ($213 approx). Pocket money for Shadi comes on top of this. The ICRC, that often helps with transport costs will not help the family as they say that Shadi is not detained in prison but in a youth detention centre.

Shadi’s family have spoken to a lawyer who has seen the case papers and is willing to help them get him released but his fees are enormous, around 50,000 shekels, ($13,335 approx) and this is way beyond their ability to pay. To help them we are proposing a funding campaign to raise the money they so desperately need.

Anwar and Farihan, Shadi’s parents say that their son has never been in trouble before this. That he is a clever student and was doing well at school. That he is a normal boy, who loves animals, writing poetry, parkour and gymnastics. They are greatly shocked that he should have been accused of such a crime.

Read a letter Shadi wrote to his mother from prison here.

If you want to support the family to release their child from prison and to cover the expenses of visits to see their son, please donate and send a quick mail to palreports[at]gmail.com to let us know how much money you donated for Shadi.