On November 26th 2015, an Israeli court charged the Palestinian teenagers known as the Hares Boys, Ali Shamlawi, Mohammed Kleib, Mohammed Suleiman, Ammar Souf and Tamer Souf with manslaughter. They were originally charged with stone throwing, which itself is a serious charge in Israeli military courts.
The Israeli military court sentenced the boys to 15 years in prison, provided they each pay NIS 30,000 (approximately $7,750) by January 28th 2016 or another 10 years of prison time could be added to each boys' sentence.
The boys have been in an adult Israeli prison for the past 2 years and 8 months already, charged with throwing stones at an Israeli settlers’ car. The boys’ arrest stemmed from an accident in March 2013, when a settler driving with her three daughters crashed into the back of a truck parked on an Israeli highway (Route 5). She later said that the collision was due to stone throwers.
The settler’s children were severely injured. One child died afterwards from the injuries she sustained in the accident, compounded by pneumonia. Though the truck driver initially stated that he had stopped on the road because he had a flat tyre, he later claimed that he had also seen rocks on the side of the road. Subsequently, several other Israeli drivers came forward to report alleged stoning incidents to police.
There are no witnesses that the five Hares Boys were anywhere near the scene of this particular accident. There is an astounding lack of evidence against the boys and witnesses nearby have stated they saw no stone-throwing in the area. Originally no Israelis made any claims that stones were thrown. A search of the settler’s car by Israeli police found no evidence of any stones, but two days later another search uncovered a single stone in the vehicle.
Nevertheless, Israeli authorities labelled the accident as a “terrorist attack” and conducted night raids in the nearby West Bank village of Hares and detaining nineteen boys, all aged between 16 and 17 years old. After subjecting the minors to solitary confinement and denying them legal representation for days or even weeks at a time, the Israeli authorities released all but five boys, claiming that they had confessed to the crime. However, the five imprisoned boys and their families maintain that the boys are innocent and that the confessions were extracted by violent interrogations, abuse and threats.
The Israeli military court, like the great majority of cases against Palestinians that go through the Israeli military system did not call a single Palestinian witness. Instead the court focused on an Israeli woman who was driving nearby and a passing truck driver, neither of who reported that they actually saw anyone throwing stones.
The sentencing of the Hares boys is another instance of the way the Israeli court system works, to find Palestinians guilty without any effort of due legal process or any notion of justice. The Israeli military court system convicts 99.7% of the Palestinians that come before them. No genuine police investigation was carried out in this case and was followed by an unfair trial of the boys. The Hares Boys were victims of an Israeli frame-up.
While acts of resistance against armed settlers and Israeli soldiers often happen in the Israeli occupied West Bank, including incidents of stone throwing, the Hares Boys have been convicted for things they didn’t do. Their harsh treatment is being used as an example to attempt to deter Palestinians from resisting the illegal Israeli occupation. The logic of Israel is that Palestinians that oppose its illegal settlement building, occupation, apartheid state are criminals. Like all such colonial settler projects Israel faces determined resistance from the indigenous peoples who refuse to submissively accept their displacement, dispossession and ethnic cleansing from their homeland. The prosecution of the Hares Boys is part of the Israeli policy to try to stifle and crush the Palestinian people’s resistance. Please join in the struggle to free the Hares Boys, they need your support and solidarity to fight this grossly unjust verdict.
In a recent press release, the Free the Hares Boys campaign has called for local and international human rights organizations and people of conscience to fight for justice for the Hares Boys.
If we stop demanding justice, five young men are to spend the next 15 years of their lives in prison. For them and other prisoners, their families, communities and their people, we must continue to struggle - Part of Free The Hares Boys Campaign press release.
Hares Boys Press Release
For more information and to help, contact Free The Hares Boys campaign at-
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