A seventeen-year-old Palestinian girl was sentenced to a 10-year prison term Wednesday by a ruling of the Israeli Disctrict Court in Jerusalem. Malak Salman was found guilty of "possessing a knife and attempting to stab Israelis" in an incident that had taken place February 9, 2016.
Salman, who is from Beit Beit Safafa in occupied East Jerusalem, had been arrested on February 9, 2016 at a check point outside Jerusalem's Damascus Gate leading to the historic part of the town. Israeli police claimed that Salman was stopped for "moving in a suspicious way" and had drawn a knife from inside her bag when they wanted to search her. She was subdued by the police without anyone suffering injuries.
The girl was transferred to the HaSharon Prison and appeared in court several times. Her family had rejected a deal which would have meant a prison sentence for 15 years. She was convicted February 17, but the sentence had been postponed.
Salman's lawyer, who was outraged by the decision reportedly wants to appeal the ruling to the Israeli Supreme Court.
"Ten years is a brutal, unjust sentence that is against international law for a girl who is not yet an adult," the lawyer was quoted by the local news agency Ma'an.
Israeli authorities recently tightened their measures against Palestinian minors thought to be offenders, passing stricter laws that allow heavy sentences for those who attack Israeli targets. They have detained larger numbers of Palestinian youths for the alleged possession of knives or presumably wanting to carry out attacks. A wave of unrest among Palestinians began in autumn 2015, but human rights groups point out that treatment of Palestinian minors by Israeli authorities is drastic.
Although Palestinians who live in Jerusalem in theory have more rights that those who live in the occupied West Bank, local human rights groups complain that Jerusalem minors of Palestinian origin face a discriminatory Israeli civilian court system.