14-Year-Old Beit Ommar Resident Released From Israeli Prison

9 January 2011

On January 7th, 2011, Mohammad Awad, age 14, was released after being held for more than a month and a half in an Israeli prison. Mohammad was arrested on November 20th, 2010, during one of the weekly Saturday unarmed demonstrations in Beit Ommar.

The Israeli military wrongfully charged Mohammad with throwing stones. However, numerous eye-witnesses, including international and Israeli solidarity activists, claim that Mohammad was not throwing stones but merely participating in an unarmed demonstration in his own village against the neighboring Israeli settlement of Karmei Tsur. Five solidarity activists, all adults, were also arrested along with Mohammad but were released late in the evening of November 20th.

After his arrest, Mohammad was first brought to Karmei Tsur settlement by Israeli Forces and held there for three hours. He was then transferred to Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron for an additional eight hours. During this time, Mohammad’s parents were not told his whereabouts by Israeli Authorities. Mohammad was repeatedly interrogated both at Kiryat Arba and at Ofer prison in the Ramallah district, where he was eventually brought. Interrogators asked him questions about members of the National Committee in Beit Ommar, who help to plan the weekly demonstrations.

Despite the fact that Mohammad is a minor and has a medical condition that chronically affects his skin, the Israeli military courts denied him bail and held him for over a month and a half. With blatant disregard for International Law, Israeli Forces have routinely arrested and imprisoned hundreds of Palestinian minors for their participation in the popular struggle against occupation.