Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association along with the family of Manal and Nour Ghanem have launched a campaign to demand the Israeli government immediately release Manal Naji Mahmoud Ghanem, 29, and her son Nour, 1.5, who were arrested on the 17th of April, 2003, and are currently being held in Telmond Central Prison.

Manal (who suffers from thalassemia) and her son, Nour, who was born away from his family, need special medical treatment not provided by the Israeli Prison Services. While she was pregnant, Manal received no special medical treatment during her arrest and interrogation. After delivering Nour, both were sent immediately to the prison and in that instant Nour became the youngest prisoner being held inside Israeli prisons.

Nour is given no special exceptions to other prisoners. His outside breaks are not extended, and toys and other items for children are not allowed into the prison when his family attempts to deliver them. Manal says, “I worry for the life of Nour because the prison guards sometimes use gas or water against the female prisoners. He needs the sunlight and fresh air, toys, etc, and none of this allowed. When he is provided with diapers, they are always too small and upset Nour.’

According to Israeli prison laws, a mother is allowed to keep her child up to 2 years in the prison after which time the child will be released to his family away from the mother who remains imprisoned.

In addition to Nour, Manal and her husband, Naji, have 3 other children. Since Manal is not able to take care of them and Naji works long hours everyday, the children are forced to live at their grandparent’s home in the Tulkarm refugee camp.

The humanitarian conditions of the Ghanem family in Manal’s absence are very sensitive. Manal and Nour both need special medical treatment which is denied to them inside the prison. The family outside the prison needs their mother, especially the second youngest, Majd, 7 years old, who has sickle cell anemia. He is often admitted to the hospital to receive treatment. Majd is in need of constant care and attention that only a mother can provide.

Manal is serving a 50 month sentence. Officially, she was accused of conspiracy in an attempted planning to kill. The details of her case show that she had attempted to carry weapons from one site to another. The attempt failed and she did not try to do it again and has never been part of any planning to any action. The Israeli Military Judge, who ruled in her case, said in the ruling remarks:

“Her role was very minor and insignificant in the planning and she did not know any pervious information about the attempt… she joined at a very late stage of planning… we have to mercy her son who was born in a very tough situation and who will spend his first years at prison… Manal did not participate in planning… she is not a member of or a supporter of any organization… she is not affiliated to any political faction, she had never been part of or accused of any violation in the past”

Despite these comments and despite the facts of her case, the Military Tribunal of Shemron decided to sentence her to maximum possible imprisonment term relative to such an accusation. The prison administration at Telmond Prison does not provide Manal and Nour with the special medical care they require, nor does it provide Nour with the milk he needs as his mother is unable breast feed him.