To the Honourable Mélanie Joly,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada
I write to you today on behalf of Independent Jewish Voices, a national Jewish organization with chapters across Canada that supports a just peace in Israel-Palestine and actively opposes all forms of racism.
We are requesting Canada’s urgent, time-sensitive intervention on behalf of a young Palestinian prisoner in Israel. 21-year-old Ahmad Manasra has been imprisoned by Israel since the age of 13. He has now been held for over a year in solitary confinement — more than 25 times the duration that the UN defines as psychological torture. His mental health has deteriorated severely and he is in acute, immediate need of intensive care.
Ahmad Manasra’s next court hearing is taking place imminently, on September 20, 2023.
We implore you to urgently pressure Israel to:
- End Ahmad Manasra’s solitary confinement
- Release Ahmad Manasra from prison
Ahmad Manasra was present in October 2015 when his cousin assaulted two Israeli settlers in the illegal Pisgat Ze’ev settlement in East Jerusalem. Although Israeli courts acknowledged that Ahmad did not participate in the attack, Ahmad was imprisoned for the rest of his childhood.
A Doctors Without Borders psychiatrist was finally permitted to see Ahmad in 2021, and diagnosed him with schizophrenia, psychosis, depression and suicidal thoughts. The psychiatrist urged Ahmad’s immediate release and intensive psychiatric care. UN human rights experts have also condemned Ahmad’s imprisonment and its devastating impact on his childhood development.
Nevertheless, the Israeli Prison Service has extended Ahmad’s solitary confinement multiple times — claiming they possess “secret evidence” that neither Ahmad or his lawyer may see.
We urgently request that Canada pressure Israel to end the inhumane solitary confinement of Ahmad Manasra and release him at his impending September 20, 2023 court hearing, so that he may receive life-saving intensive care in his community.
Corey Balsam, National Coordinator, Independent Jewish Voices Canada
Sara Rans, National Steering Committee Chair, Independent Jewish Voices Canada
Amnesty International: Free Ahmad Manasra