Israel passes law allowing imprisonment of minors

Tel Aviv, Aug 4 (IANS) Israel’s parliament has passed a law that allows the imprisonment of minors under the age of 14 charged with terrorism crimes.

The Knesset, as the legislature is known, on Wednesday voted in favour of the so-called “Youth Bill” with 32 Members of Knesset (MKs) supporting the bill in its third reading and 16 opposing it, plus one abstention, EFE news reported.

The new law enables judges to sentence minors as young as 12 who are convicted of serious crimes _ such as murder, attempted homicide or so-called “acts of terror” _ to jail terms.

Courts will still be able to debate whether or not to jail youths while they are detained in an enclosed facility, the statement said.

It added that the seriousness of attacks in recent months “demands a more aggressive approach, including toward minors.”

The bill was sponsored by MK Anat Berko, of the ruling right-wing Likud party, who said “to those who are murdered with a knife in the heart, it does not matter if the child is 12 or 15.”

She said that Israeli society had been witness to several cases in which 11-year-old children were suicide bombers, adding that “perhaps this law can prevent those minors from being used to massacre people”.

The Knesset passed a bill in July 2015 allowing for the sentencing of up to 20 years in prison for individuals convicted of throwing rocks at moving vehicles if the intent to cause either harm or damage could be proven.

On the other hand, if there is no proof of intent, the state can still imprison rock-throwers for up to 10 years.

–IANS

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