A 12 year old girl has become the youngest child to be beaten and imprisoned by Israeli soldiers while she was on her way to school.
Dima al-Wawi, was sentenced to four-and-a-half months in prison and an an eight-thousand-shekel fine (£1,500) after she was
kidnapped arrested while she was walking in the West Bank town of Halhoul.
The area is currently illegally occupied by Israeli soldiers. The soldiers later accused her of wielding a knife at them, although Dima’s family say that she was denied access to a lawyer and forced into a confession. She was also interrogated without her parents being present.
At that time, her family asserted that they were prevented from visiting their child or bringing her new clothes, despite the cold weather and harsh conditions in Israeli detention centres.
They were also not allowed to speak to her before or even during the trial. On the day of the trial, Dima showed up in court wearing the same school uniform she had on the day of her arrest.
In a letter she penned in prison, Dima wrote: “My beloved mom, dad, and dear brothers: I miss you all so much and I know that you are with me. I am good, healthy, fine and happy. With love, Dima.”
She added that Dima’s lawyer tried to appeal and to prove that the accusations against her daughter are false, but to no avail. Her parents described their ordeal as “psychological torture”. Ismail al-Wawi, Dima’s father, said that he is concerned over the psychological well-being of his daughter. Before entering the court, her parents claim her hands and feet were chained together while she was beaten by soldiers.
They have asked for the help of international human rights institutions to work together with Dima’s lawyer for her immediate release.
WAFA news agency quoted lawyer Rania Ghosheh as saying that the prison authority informed her of its decision to release the girl slightly early on April 24 after several requests made in this regard by the Palestinian commission for detainees’ affairs.
On the other hand, Israeli children who are 12 years and under cannot be held criminally responsible. This leniency does not however apply to Palestinian children.
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