A teenage Palestinian boy, whose photograph went viral on social media and sparked condemnations across the world for Israeli forces’ use of force, has been released on bail, Al Jazeera reported on Friday.
16-year-old Fawzi al-Junaidi, who was charged for pelting stones at Israeli forces — an accusation he repeatedly denied — was released after his financially-deprived family managed to submit a bail sum of $2,870.
Fawzi’s photograph, taken on December 7, showed him being held blindfolded by more than 20 Israeli troops for being part of a protest against Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The teenage, however, had insisted that he was running away from the area because there were canisters of tear gas shells and sound bombs.
According to Al Jazeera, Fawzi was the bread-winner for a family of nine. His family said that he was not part of the protest and had gone out to get groceries. His mother is terminally ill, while his father has an injured leg, the family told the Doha-based media outlet.
Fawzi has been diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder and has bruises all over his body, the boy’s uncle Rashad al-Junaidi claimed while talking to Al Jazeera. “When we picked him up from Ofer prison, we rushed him to Ramallah hospital, and it turns out that his right shoulder is broken […] his entire body is bruised,” said Rashad, adding that he was discharged from the hospital on Thursday.
His lawyer Arwa Hlehel said that Fawzi was tortured and beaten excessively by Israeli forces due to which he experienced extreme chest pain, Al Jazeera reported. He was not allowed to see a doctor even after he asked, said the lawyer, adding, “We’re talking about abuse that has reached the level of torture, especially for a child his age.”
Fawzi’s trial will start from January 14 and is bound to attend each proceeding as a condition of his bail. Protests are being held in Palestine since Trump announced that the US embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At least 15 Palestinians have died in clashes while 600 have been arrested, according to Al Jazeera.