Palestinian teenage girl on trial for striking Israeli soldier

15 February, 2018, 06:38 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • The city of Jenin

An Israeli military judge overseeing the trial of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi for slapping and punching two Israeli soldiers has ordered all proceedings to take place behind closed doors "for the protection of the minor".

In the court hearing that was held behind closed doors, the judge made a decision to extend the detention of the 17-year-old girl until March 11 without giving further details. The indictment covers six incidents in recent months in which she was involved in altercations with Israeli soldiers, including the December 15 slapping incident that was captured on video and went viral on social media.

"They understand that people are interested in Ahed's case, they understand that her rights are being infringed on and her trial is something that shouldn't be happening", lawyer Gaby Lasky said.

Ahed Tamimi had just learned of his injury when she, along with her mother and another cousin approached two soldiers at the entrance to the courtyard of the family home, according to relatives.

Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, 16, has gone on trial before an Israeli military court.

Earlier in the day, Tamimi's father told The Associated Press as he headed into the court that he came "with no good expectations, because this a military court, and it's part of the Israeli military occupation".

Over the years Ahed gained global attention for her fearless actions against Israeli occupation forces during protests and clashes in and around her village. Ahed Tamimi is shown on November 20, 2012, crying at the funeral of a relative killed during a clash with the Israeli army.

Meanwhile, 27 American cultural figures, including actors, civil rights leaders and sports figures, signed an open letter Monday calling for Ahed's release and supporting a bill introduced late previous year in the U.S. House of Representatives called the "Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act".

Only family members were allowed to remain in the courtroom, with diplomats present to observe also asked to leave.

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"We believe that this is an indictment exclusively created in order to deter Ahed and other Palestinian youths" from resisting occupation, Lasky said afterward.

Israel's hard-charging prosecution of Tamimi, recognizable by her unruly mane of curly hair, has drawn worldwide attention and criticism.

The extended Tamimi family has been involved in conflict with Israeli authorities over the years.

The case was adjourned until March, and could go on for months.

United Nations experts have pointed out that Tamimi was arrested in the middle of the night by armed soldiers, and questioned by Israeli security officials without a lawyer or family members present.

"None of the facts of this case would appear to justify her ongoing detention prior to her trial, particularly given the concerns expressed by the Committee on the Rights of the Child about the use of pre-trial detention and detention on remand", Lynk added. The following month, Tamimi was charged with a number of offenses under Israel military law for both the December incident and for others dating back to April 2016.

"While our struggles may be unique, the parallels can not be ignored", they add, noting that USA police, border patrol and other law enforcement "train with Israeli soldiers, police, and border agents, utilizing similar repressive profiling tactics to target and harass our communities".

She was arrested during a night raid four days later, after a video of her threatening and beating two Israel Defense Forces soldiers went viral.

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