In Israel, the youngest female prisoner has been released after being held in prison for two-and-a-half months.
The Palestinian girl was held in prison after she confessed in a plea bargain to planning a stabbing attack in a West Bank settlement in Israel, according to the Associated Press.
The girl, known only as “D,” was taken by Israel Police’s Nachshon unit from the Hasharon prison around midday and then taken to a checkpoint in Jabara checkpoint near Tul Karm, reported Haaretz. Afterward, D was under the care of representatives of the Palestinian Authority. Finally, the authority gave D to her parents.
While in an Israeli prison, D apparently made some friends and thought much about them after she left the prison.
Her father said “she was very happy but talked lots about the other prisoners she left behind.” D’s father also said he was excited to see her.
D’s mother planned to have a party for her daughter and had been planning for the day her daughter would be freed from the prison in Israel.
“We’ll have a little party for her at the house and we’ll help her, because she really needs love and a warm embrace now, after this difficult period.”
D was supposed to be held for another two months for her sentence after being convicted of attempted manslaughter, but she is now free due to an appeal. The press and her parents raised concern and the outcry gained attention throughout the world.
The family’s attorney, Abir Bachar, stated that the Israel Prison Service was keeping the girl in a prison alongside adult Palestinian prisoners. The Israel Prison Service denied this accusation. He also said the girl was only allowed to see her mother once, for 45 minutes, two months into her prison sentence. She was not allowed physical contact with her mother. Since D was classified as a security prisoner, she was not allowed visits by a social worker and was given many limitations.
Bachar explained how he felt the girl had been unfairly placed in the Israeli prison system.
“The extraordinary light heartedness about sending a young girl of only 12 to prison shows the arbitrariness of the military legal system when it comes to Palestinian minors. The military court could have rejected the plea bargain and instead ordered treatment for the girl’s special needs. And may I add that had she been named Rachel, and came from a nearby settlement, the law would have kept her from being placed behind bars.”
A welfare coordinator for the Civil Administration in Israel told the court she believes D was ignored by her parents and was lonely. She said it was her impression that D had never received proper care for her learning disorders, either.
D’s parents appealed her conviction on grounds that it violated international legal norms, let alone legal norms in Israel. They believed D’s case was one of discrimination against Palestinians, especially since the law in Israel does not allow the incarceration of minors younger than 14-years-old for citizens of Israel.
A petition formed in a public campaign for the girl’s release from the prison in Israel said, “It’s no coincidence that Israeli law doesn’t allow a prison sentence for minors under the age of 14. The gap between military law and Israeli law in this is intolerable, and in D.’s case could lead to irreversible damage.”
As for D, she was not really sure why people were making such a fuss over her in the Palestinian and foreign media. She was described as calm and relaxed after her release from jail in Israel.
D’s family will arrive in Halhul, near Hebron, and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club will hold a press conference.
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