Halhul, occupied West Bank – After spending 2.5 months in a prison cell, 12-year-old D* al-Wawi, the youngest Palestinian female detainee, was released on Sunday on early parole.
D, arrested on February 9 near the illegal Israeli settlement of Karmei Tzur, was convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a knife in a plea bargain by Israel’s military court days after her detention. She was sentenced to 4.5 months in Israeli military prison, and completed more than half of her sentence.
While Israeli citizens are governed by Israeli civil law and can only be imprisoned from the age of 14, Israeli military law, which oversees Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, allows children as young as 12 to serve jail time. According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 438 Palestinian minors are currently serving time in Israeli prisons, 98 of whom are under 16.
On April 24, after travelling several hours from the northern Jbara checkpoint near Tulkarem to her hometown in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, D arrived home with her family for the first time in 75 days. Upon her arrival in Halhul village, she was greeted by hundreds of neighbours and family members, waving the Palestinian flag and cheering for her return.
When the Israeli soldiers arrested me, they kicked me a lot. One of the soldiers kicked me hard in my back, and then when I was lying on the ground, another soldier jumped on top of me and that caused me a lot of pain for a long time