Mly trial of Palestinian teen opens behind closed doors

Pauline Gross
February 15, 2018

There has been global outcry at a further delay in the military trial of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who was arrested in December for kicking and slapping two Israeli soldiers.

Ahed Tamimi has been incarcerated since she was arrested on December 19, four days after she was filmed confronting the soldiers outside her West Bank home.

Despite a push from Tamimi's family to have her trial open to the public, a judge rejected the proposal, ruling that it would not be in the interest of the teenager, who is being tried as a minor, Channel News Asia reported.

Ahed Tamimi, who turned 17 in prison last month, appeared fresh and confident as she was led into a courtroom packed with journalists and foreign diplomats.

But Tamimi's lawyer, Gaby Lasky, criticized the decision saying, "It's odd that the court decided - after sending Ahed into detention until the end of her trial and after her name had already been publicized - that it is in her interests to conduct the trial far off from public view".

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". Tamimi and her mother, Nariman, were arrested a few days later.

Israeli authorities picked her up on 12 separate charges of aggravated assault and incitement, which could potentially be punishable by 10 years in prison.

Ahed Tamimi's father Bessem Tamimi stated: "We need the people and the audience with us to see what happens because we do not trust this court, and we do not trust this system".

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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. "The way to keep it out of everybody's eyes is to close doors and not allow people inside the court for the hearing".

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 a year ago in the U.S. House of Representatives called the "Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act".

They noted that Tamimi was arrested in the middle of the night by well-armed soldiers, and then questioned by Israeli security officials without a lawyer or family members present. Tuesday's hearing was adjourned until early March. "I didn't think it's good for the minor that there are 100 people in the courtroom", he said. "As an unarmed girl, Ahed posed no threat during the altercation with the two Israeli soldiers who were heavily armed and wearing protective clothing".

Tamimi's family has said that she struck the two soldiers outside her West Bank home in frustration after having just learned that Israeli troops seriously wounded a 15-year-old cousin, shooting him in the head from close range with a rubber bullet during nearby stone-throwing clashes. Nariman Tamimi also was charged with incitement to terrorism on Facebook for posting the video of the incident.

The scuffle took place amid clashes and protests against US President Donald Trump's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel 's capital. Images of the female soldier's bloody face circulated on social media after she was injured by shattered windshield glass. Later that day, Ahed confronted Israeli soldiers when they forced themselves into the courtyard of her family's home.

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

Human rights groups have protested the minor's imprisonment and demanded she be released for the period of her trial.

Other reports by GizPress

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