Israeli police accused of abusing Palestinian boy

Footage appears to show officers intimidating a 13-year-old to confess to attempted murder of Israeli citizens.

Handout showing Manasra sitting in his hospital bed in Jerusalem
Manasrah, 13, was admitted to hospital after being struck by a car after he and his cousin allegedly stabbed two Israelis [Reuters/GOP]

As a 13-year-old Palestinian went to trial for allegedly attacking Israeli citizens in occupied East Jerusalem, there has been anger after a leaked video of the teenager being interrogated by police after the incident showed an officer using “intimidating” tactics.

On Tuesday, Ahmed Manasrah appeared in a Jerusalem court, where he was charged with two counts of attempted murder.

According to the indictment, he and his cousin Hassan, 15, stabbed two Israelis, aged 20 and 13, in mid-October.

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After the alleged attack at the Pisgat Zeev settlement, police shot Hassan dead and a passing car ran over Manasrah. The two Israelis survived their wounds.

‘Murder Jews’

In a video after the incident, shared widely on social media, Manasrah is shown lying on the ground, unable to move, and bleeding from the head.

A nearby man, speaking in Arabic with an Israeli accent, can be heard cursing him and shouting “die, die, son of a b***h”.

Meanwhile, other bystanders curse him and shout “die!” in Hebrew.

But another widely shared video, released ahead of Tuesday’s trial, has further intensified tensions around the case.

The clip shows what appear to be Israeli policemen verbally abusing Manasrah, who is from Jerusalem, pressuring him to confess to attempting to “murder Jews” and “aiding an enemy at the time of war”.

In the video (WARNING: some viewers may find this disturbing), which Al Jazeera cannot verify, several Israeli police officers are seen screaming at Manasrah, telling him that he had committed crimes and that he must confess.

Manasrah, visibly traumatised but recovered from his major wounds, is seen crying, hitting his own head, and pleading that he has done nothing and does not remember anything.


Manasrah appears confused, saying he did not understand what his accusers were talking about.

The officer then shouts at him, saying “shut up” and “I will show you … if you don’t answer,” after which Manasrah breaks down, puts his hands on his head, and cries again.

“Enough, enough, I will say whatever you want, but I don’t remember anything,” Manasrah is heard saying.

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Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the investigation was conducted “with professionalism and without bias,” the AP news agency reported.

Akin to ‘torture’

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Tariq Bargouthi, Manasrah’s lawyer, said that the “intimidating” tactics used by the police officer against his client were illegal under Israeli law.

“He is just a little boy,” he said, maintaining that Manasrah did not try to stab or commit a crime against anyone.

Lawyer Lea Tsemel, who is also representing Manasrah, said she may contest the investigation based on the manner of questioning seen in the video.

“You cannot terrify, or threaten, or tempt, for the purpose of achieving a confession,” she said, according to AP.

Maysa Abu Saleh, a lawyer with the Public Committee against Torture in Israel, a human rights group, told Al Jazeera that Israeli police do not have the right to treat suspects, especially minors, in such a brutal way.

Abu Saleh added that based on material in the video, the treatment of Manasrah constitutes torture, as defined by Israeli law.

Under the law, minors must be questioned by police officers who are trained to deal with underage suspects and in the presence of their parents or lawyers, she explained.

Manasrah’s case was postponed on Tuesday and scheduled to resume on November 26.

Follow Ali Younes on Twitter: @Ali_reports 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies