14-Year Old Prisoner Released, Happy to be Back with His Family

16 April 2013

14-Year old Nassim Abu Maria was released late Sunday 14th of April after spending 4 ½ months in Ofer Prison, which is located between Jerusalem and Ramallah. He was arrested during a surprise night raid and it was his first time in prison. During the night raid, soldiers came to his house unexpectedly at 3 am and he was told that he was being arrested because the soldiers possessed photos of him throwing stones. He was blindfolded, handcuffed and taken into custody. After ten court appearances, the soldiers were unable to bring forward the photos they allegedly possessed of Abu Maria’s stone throwing, yet, he was still sentenced to prison, without any evidence of his alleged political activity.

Abu Maria shared his experience of the prison with PSP and indicated that he had been injured during the arrest, beaten in prison and was refused medical treatment various times for serious injuries he sustained to his arm from rubber bullets during his arrest. He was finally permitted to have surgery at an Israeli hospital and will require additional therapy to treat the injury to his arm, which has left him with limited wrist mobility and function.

Abu Maria stated that the prison conditions were dismal, with terrible food and conditions. Fortunately, he stated that he was acquainted with some of the prisoners in Ofer and was able to educate himself in prison, making the experience not quite as horrible. His family was refused permission to visit him in prison and were only able to see him during his court appearances.

After a late release and a 1,000 NIS fine, Nassim’s family were joyous about the April 14th release of the eldest son and held a party for his return. Soldiers quickly intervened in the festivities and shot tear gas, sound bombs, and steel-coated rubber bullets at the party-goers. The soldier’s violence lasted for several hours, beginning at around 5 pm and lasting until around 10 pm.

Abu Maria, who is currently in grade 9, is looking forward to getting back to school and being with his family. He is very happy to have his freedom back and to be returned to his home.