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Palestinian children hold vigil for teenage prisoner

Palestinians stood in solidarity with Khalid al-Sheik [al-Araby]

Date of publication: 25 February, 2015

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Protesters come together in Gaza to demand freedom for Khalid al-Sheik, 14, who has been in an Israeli jail for six months pending trial for throwing stones.

Palestinian children have taken part in a vigil in Gaza demanding the release of Khalid al-Sheik, a Palestinian teenager held for six months by Israeli authorities for throwing stones.

The vigil late on Tuesday evening was organised by the Popular Committee Against Siege (PCAS) to reject the trial and imprisonment of Khalid, and remember other Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Khalid, 14, from the village of Beit Annan near Jerusalem, was arrested on 25 December and accused of throwing stones. He has since been held in Ofer prison, west of Ramallah, while he awaits trial. His parents say the case has been adjourned four times already, and his health has deteriorated during his imprisonment.

At the protest, children carried candles, Palestinian flags and slogans demanding his release and an end to the suffering of Palestinian prisoners. Protesters set up candles to read "Freedom for Khalid al-Sheik".

Hana al-Zaeim, 9, was one of those children at the vigi. She told al-Araby Al-Jadeed: "We came to call for the release of the child prisoner. We reject his trial. He is a young child. He did not commit any offence."

     We came to call for the release of the child prisoner. We reject his trial.

Omar Shtaiwi, 10, who was carrying the flag of Palestine and the photo of the child prisoner, said Israeli police "do not spare even children".

The head of PCAS, MP Jamal al-Khudari, said in a press conference that followed the solidarity vigil that the stand came in honour of Palestinian prisoners who suffer in the occupation prisons with no one paying attention to them.

PCAS said the vigil would be the first in a series of events that will demand the release of Khalid and other Palestinian prisoners.

The group called on the international community and human rights organisations to intervene urgently to stop the violations against the prisoners in the prisons of the Israeli occupation.

This is an edited translation of the original Arabic.

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