Stuart Littlewood: Student Foils Israeli Bid to Wreck Family’s Hopes
In 2004, the Israelis arrested her eldest brother, a 22 year-old artist who designed posters and banners for university student groups. They accused him of taking part in student political activities, which can mean anything from running for student council to organizing speaking events, and for this he spent 4 years in prison.
In 2007, they came back for Merna’s 18-year-old brother. He is still incarcerated under ‘administrative detention’, which means he hasn’t been charged or sentenced for any crime because the Israeli military claims to have secret evidence, which only a military judge can see. The Israelis use this device to lock up Palestinians – mostly students – for up to 6 months, to be renewed if the mood takes them. Merna’s 19 year-old cousin is also in prison waiting to be charged with a ‘crime’.
Then a few months ago the military came again, this time to take her youngest brother. Merna was in despair. He had only just turned 16. “As he was being taken away, he told us to take care of ourselves,” said Merna, her eyes brimming with tears. “He’s my little brother! He is the one who needs taking care of. What is he doing in an awful prison cell and how are his spirits?”
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