Update on the arrest of Shadi Khoury, grandson of Samia Khoury

Update on the arrest of Shadi Khoury, grandson of Samia Khoury

Shadi Khoury, age 15, is part of a beloved and influential Christian family in Jerusalem. That did not stop Israeli police from arresting him on false charges and beating him bloody last October. Here is an update on his case.

IAK Staff

Many members of the IAK community are aware of our dear friend Samia Khoury. Samia was born in Palestine in 1933, and experienced the Nakba firsthand. She spent many years working to educate the disadvantaged in East Jerusalem, and is a powerful voice for justice for Palestinians. (See her bio below.)

Last October, Samia shared with us – and we shared with you – the shocking story of the arrest and beating of her grandson, Shadi Khoury.  Shadi’s case has dragged on ever since; recently he endured several court sessions. Samia recently sent an update that you will want to read.

She writes:

On Sunday, May 21, 2023, Shadi had a day-long court hearing.. It was the first of a series of trials where the prosecution was supposed to bring witnesses to testify against Shadi and prove, as they alleged, that he was part of the demonstration on October 12th, 2022.

Their first witness was a 15-year-old Palestinian boy called Bara’ who, as per the police, had confessed at the time of his arrest in October, that he saw Shadi participate in the demonstration.

But to the surprise of the prosecution and the defense lawyers, Bara’ denied any prior knowledge of Shadi, withdrew his previous confession to police, and testified that the Israeli interrogators coerced him into confessing against Shadi. He testified that he was under psychological and physical torture and verbally abused.

As he testified, the terrified 15-year-old child was threatened by imprisonment unless he confessed that Shadi took part in the demonstration and attacked an Israeli car. He was promised immediate release as a reward for snitching on Shadi falsely.

During the defense lawyer’s cross-examination, it became apparent that Bara’ was fed specific lies about Shadi’s actions by Israeli police interrogators. Bara’ testified that investigators would take him from the official interrogation room with recording facilities to another room without documentation. He would be threatened, prompted, and returned to the official investigation room to falsify information and lie to the recorded sessions.

Bara’s original confession was full of discrepancies, raising the suspicion of Shadi’s defense lawyers. By the end of Bara’s testimony, it became apparent that the reason behind these discrepancies was that the police coerced him to lie to entrap Shadi.

What implication this will have on the judge’s ruling is still to be seen.

Another court hearing was set for October 23rd, where the prosecution is supposed to bring more evidence in their continued attempt to indict Shadi. He will remain under house arrest until then, but in the mean time he will be allowed to continue going to school, as well as to go out on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4-9 p.m with one of those who had been approved by the court to accompany him.  That is either one of  his parents, siblings or his  aunt.

Shadi seems to be coping, and his school has been very supportive, especially in facilitating his final exams which coincided with the period of his court sessions. We hope he will overcome.

In the meantime the family and friends continue to be supportive but we cannot help but wonder why on earth would they use the 15 year old Bara to incriminate Shadi. One would have expected the judge to drop charges and put an end to all this drama after hearing Bara’s testimony.  But not in the only democracy in the Middle East.

Bara was released immediately after he had given his testimony when Shadi was imprisoned, and as far as we know no measures have been taken against him for his testimony recently. Let us hope there will not be a price for his testimony and that Shadi will eventually overcome.

The number of children prisoners is very serious and nobody has been able to make a dent.  If the UN rapporteur for human rights in the oPt is prohibited by Israel from entering the country what hope is there for justice to prevail.

Unfortunately it just emphasizes how impotent the United Nations as a body is. It created the problem by partitioning Palestine and it should be responsible for putting an end to the ongoing Nakba and this brutal occupation.

So far, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has failed to condemn this Israeli human rights abuse, even though the U.S. gives Israel over $10 million per day. Blinken has a history of assisting Israel.

Samia Nasir Khoury is an author and a member of a distinguished Palestinian Christian family who founded one of the region’s top universities. She was born in Jaffa, Palestine, in 1933, graduated from Birzeit College, earned a BA degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and has a long record of public service, including  serving on the board of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in East Jerusalem; on the board of trustees of Birzeit University; president of the YWCA; President of Rawdat El-Zuhur, an elementary school for the lower income community in East Jerusalem; and addressing two UN Forums, in New York in 1996, and in Athens in 2000.

The violent treatment of Samia’s grandson is not rare. Each year, approximately 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. The most common charge is throwing stones at occupation soldiers. Often even this mild charge is untrue.

To contact your Congress members: phone 202-224-3121 / email them here.



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