Israeli Military Court Sentences Palestinian-American Teen for Throwing Stones

New Orleans-born Mohammad Khalek was sentenced to two weeks in prison and fined $830, Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer reported.

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A lawyer for Palestinian-American teenager Mohammad Khalek says an Israeli military court has sentenced the boy to two weeks in prison for throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles.

Mahmoud Hassan of the Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer said Wednesday the court also ordered 14-year-old Khalek to pay an $830 fine.

Hassan says that taking into account the time Khalek already spent in prison, he will likely be released on Sunday.

New Orleans-born Khalek has been held in military lockup since he was arrested on April 5 in a night-time military raid on his home. IDF soldiers wielding assault rifles burst into his family home and arrested him for allegedly hurling rocks at Israeli motorists in the West Bank, his father said.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Khalek's father, a car dealer who splits his time between the West Bank and New Orleans, wasn't allowed to visit his son in jail. But he spoke to him at three court hearings, most recently when Mohammad was officially charged.

Mohammad's lawyer, Randa Wahbe, said he told her in court that he was interrogated for hours and at one stage, was pushed so hard that his dental braces were broken. She says he was told by interrogators that if he confessed to rock throwing quickly, he would be released. A military spokesman said no complaints of abuse were filed.

"He appears okay, he's a strong kid," said his 46-year-old father. "But there is no law in the world that justifies the way (Israeli forces) acted."

The issue of prisoners has garnered much attention among Palestinians in the past two weeks following the death of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a Palestinian security prisoner, from cancer, while still in detention. Hamdiyeh's death led to riots throughout the West Bank and particularly in Hebron, his hometown.

Simultaneously, the condition of Samer Issawi, a Palestinian detainee who has been on a hunger strike for the past eight months, continues to deteriorate. In recent weeks, Israeli authors and intellectuals signed a petition calling for his release. Issawi, who is being held under guard at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, recently called on the Israeli public to advocate for his release from prison.

Rights group Defense of Children International says there were 236 minors in Israel military detention in February, 39 of them between the ages of 12 to 15. The group said it receives its numbers from Israel's prison authority.

A Palestinian stone thrower bearing the Hamas flag, right, uses a sling shot to throw stones with his comrade towards Israeli security forces, April 3, 2013.Credit: AFP

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