Twelve year old Dima Al-Wawi cannot believe that she is breathing the air of freedom yesterday after spending two and a half months in Israeli prisons as the youngest Palestinian to be sentenced to prison. She was accused of intending to stab Israelis.
Moments after meeting her relatives, Al-Wawi said she missed chatting to her mother, sisters and friends at school the most. With the innocence of a child on whom prison has left a painful mark, she said “I want to talk to them about prison and what I used to do there”.
The prison services’ administration released the youngest prisoner after her lawyer requested that she be released early. In response, the judge ruled that she could be released after two and a half months rather than four and a half. Al-Wawi was transported to the Jabara checkpoint south of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank before making the long journey to her parent’s house in Halhul, south of the West Bank.
Al-Wawi was greeted by her family, relatives and Palestinian officials and seemed to be perplexed by the situation. After greeting Al-Wawi, the head of the Prisoners’ Affairs Committee Issa Qaraqe said that “Israel is a savage state that uses the ugliest forms of repression, abuse and torture on Palestinian children. This entity is above all human rights laws and principles of international human rights laws.” Qaraqe points out that there are more than 450 minor boys and girls under the age of 16 who continue to languish behind the walls of Israeli prisons.
Israel arrested Al-Wawi near the Karmi Tsur settlement which is north of Hebron in the West Bank, on the ninth of February under the pretext that she was in possession of a knife. She was then sentenced to prison for the duration of four and a half months and was granted bail amounting to one thousand dollars.
A video that was broadcasted yesterday showed Al-Wawi’s being arrested as she walked towards the entrance of the settlement dressed in her school uniform. She was ordered by an Israeli security guard to stop and kneel on the ground.