Ahed Tamimi tried behind closed doors

15 February, 2018, 07:23 | Author: Julian Swanson
  • The city of Jenin

The trial of Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was arrested two months ago for slapping an Israeli soldier, is to be held behind closed doors, the Ofer Military Court ruled Tuesday.

United Nations human rights experts* have expressed alarm over the case of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi who, after an incident in which she slapped an Israeli soldier, appeared before an Israeli military court today.

Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager filmed kicking and slapping Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, went on trial on Tuesday in an Israeli military court.

The judge closed the courtroom, citing the defendant's status as a minor, ordering out journalists and diplomats who had been present to observe the proceedings.

ISM sat down to speak with Ahed's father, Bassem Tamimi, at the family home in Nabi Saleh to discuss the events of the trial.

The 17-year-old girl was arrested on December 19 and must now respond to the judicial process, while remaining in jail, for which United Nations experts demand respect to the rules of global law and demand her freedom. However, Ahed reportedly requested, through her attorney Gabi Lasky, for her trial to be open to the public. At a previous hearing, the military court at the Ofer army base in the West Bank ordered her held until the end of proceedings. Palestinians say she was protesting against Israel's occupation of the West Bank. Such a contention seems irrelevant, even if correct, as Ahed's defiance was prompted by the shooting and wounding of her cousin a short time before, which was certainly not staged, but rather a reflection of oppressive and violent Israeli responses to Palestinian demonstrations of resistance. She was arrested, and now faces charges of aggravated assault, obstructing the work of soldiers, and incitement. 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.

When their terms are being renewed, detainees appear before Israeli military courts - often without full knowledge of the allegations against them. She was arrested at her home December 19 in the middle of the night and has been in detention ever since. Ahed has been a regular in Internet videos for years. One photo shows the then 12-year-old raising a clenched fist toward a soldier towering over her.

Amnesty International has called for her immediate release, saying her "continued detention is a desperate attempt to intimidate Palestinian children who dare to stand up to repression by occupying forces". She said she is still waiting to receive case material from the prosecutor, that her client did not enter a plea and that the next hearing would be March 11.

Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and a White House they see as favoring Israel more than ever, has fueled frustration among Palestinians.

"The Israeli military supposes by arresting Ahed Tamimi they can silence their activism", said Fadi Quran, a senior campaigner with the activist group Avaaz.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has criticised Israeli authorities' actions in the case, while the European Union has expressed concern over Israel's detention of minors, including Ahed Tamimi.

"While our struggles may be unique, the parallels can not be ignored", they add, noting that United States 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".

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