Middle East Monitor / January 16, 2023
The Palestine Centre for Prisoner Studies said that the Israeli Occupation authorities seek to impose more suffering on child prisoners and their families, and burden them with the bill resulting from the arrest of their children by imposing heavy fines, in addition to actual prison sentences.
The Director of the Centre, Riyad al-Ashqar, explained that the Occupation military courts are not content with just issuing unfair detention sentences against child prisoners but, rather often, accompany them with the imposition of heavy financial fines that are added to the sentence period.
He stated that the Ofer Military Court imposed fines amounting to 473,000 Shekels, equivalent to $140,000 against children during the past year, 2022.
Al-Ashqar stressed that the Occupation military judiciary plays an active and complicit role in serving the security and provides legal protection for the Occupation’s policies that violate international law, through questionable courts that provide a formal framework for issuing harsh retaliatory sentences against our people and exorbitant financial fines that drain their resources, in light of the difficult economic conditions.
Al-Ashqar considered the imposition of heavy fines on child prisoners as open theft and an approved policy to steal and collect the money of the prisoners’ families, to pressure and blackmail the prisoner and his family, and to burden them with the bill resulting from the arrest of their children. This aims to stop them from participating in resisting the Occupation.
Al-Ashqar noted that the Occupation has imposed fines on most of the children who were arrested and brought before the courts, in addition to actual prison sentences.
Arbitrary Occupation courts impose financial fines for trivial reasons to punish the prisoners and establish a harsh deterrence policy, even if the case against the prisoner is very minor, such as throwing stones or being near military checkpoints and settlements. This does not warrant the imposition of a fine to release the prisoner.
Al-Ashqar called on international institutions concerned with children’s affairs to intervene to protect Palestinian children from the crimes of the Occupation, and its continuous assaults on their childhood through arrest, abuse, harsh sentences and financial fines.
The Occupation authorities arrested nearly 900 children during the past year.