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Children orphaned as parents live behind bars

Hamzah hopes to get his mother back as the boy is hopeless about his father

Image Credit: Nasouh Nazzal/Gulf News
Hamza Abu Warda
Gulf News

Ramallah: “It is catastrophic to lose both parents and end up all alone,” said Hamzah, a ten year old Palestinian boy in Hebron.

The Ofer Military Court will review on Thursday an appeal submitted by the Palestinian female prisoner Noura Burhan Al Ja’abari who was convicted of smuggling money and a cell phone to her imprisoned husband Mohammad Abu Wardah, himself sentenced to 48 lifetimes imprisonment.

Noura had earlier been sentenced by a military court to eight months imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 Shekels.

The imprisoned couple has left their only son Hamzah all alone living a life he has labeled as total loneliness. “I live with my grandparents who are looking after me,” said Hamzah in an interview with Gulf News.

The ten year old Hamzah said that he has never seen his father as he was born after his father was jailed. “To me, my mother was a mother and a father at the same time and her detention has totally emptied my life,” he said.

Huge Israeli forces raided Hamzah’s house on October 9th last year, brutally searched it and arrested Noura. The Israeli Public Prosecution pressed money related charges against the mother, along with the illegal smuggling of money and a mobile phone to her imprisoned husband during a visit to him in Nafhah Prison.

Once Noura was arrested, her husband was returned to the interrogations chambers once again even though already sentenced prisoners are usually not returned to the interrogation.

Mohammad Abu Wardah, a Hamas operative from Al Fawar Refugee Camp in Hebron, was officially accused by the Israeli Public Prosecution of orchestrating suicidal operations against the state of Israel and was sentenced to 48 lifetimes imprisonments - becoming one of the longest ever Palestinians sentenced by the Israeli military judicial system. Mohammad tied the knot when he was chased by the Israeli military and knew his wife was pregnant after he entered an Israeli jail.

Mohammad Mahmoud Abu Wardah, an uncle to the imprisoned Mohammad told Gulf News that both the Abu Wardah and Al Ja’abari families have been dedicating most of their time and effort to entertain Hamzah and speak to him about his imprisoned mother.

“We fully appreciate the family conditions of the grade four Hamzah who has lost his two parents,” he said. “Hamzah badly suffers about the absence of both his father and mother, but we have nothing in hand except promising him with an immediate home coming of his mother,” he said.

He stressed that Hamzah’s teachers in Hebron give him a special treatment, but the boy usually asks to see his mother, but the Israeli military have been denying the family any visits.

Noura, a school teacher, is extremely worried about her son Hamzah. Only Noura’s mother, and her mother in law are allowed to attend her court sessions during which time, she urges them to pay bigger attention to Hamzah. “Noura does not pay attention to the court proceedings but asks her attending family members to look after her only son Hamzah,” said Mohammad.

Ahrar Centre for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights has prepared a study on children with imprisoned parents through which light has been shed on the case of Mohammad and Noura, the case of the imprisoned couple Nawal Al Sa’adi and her husband Bassam Al Sa’adi and that of the imprisoned couple Mona Qedan and her husband Ebrahim Eghbariyah.

“Children of imprisoned parents live total misery and real suffering,” concluded the centre.