Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Israel wants 1,500 shekels for 15-year-old boy

Hebron – Ma'an – Israeli authorities have asked the family of a detained 15-year-old boy to pay 1,500 Israeli shekels (about 400 US dollars) to release the minor, a prisoners solidarity group reported on Saturday.

The boy, Ratib Abu Meizar, was detained on Friday evening in the Zahid neighborhood of central of Hebron in the southern West Bank. He was taken to a detention center housed in the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Amjad Najjar, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Society in Hebron, told Ma'an that Abu Meizar's detention "is a continuation of Israel's policy of blackmailing the families of detained Palestinian children, a policy which has become official."

Najjar urged international children's rights groups to exert pressure on the government of Switzerland and other signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention to encourage Israel to abide by its responsibilities. Israel is also a signatory to the convention, which extends protection to children in conflict zones.

A spokesman for Israeli police in the West Bank did not immediately return calls seeking comment.