Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trial Opens of Palestinian Charged With Assaulting Soldier

Trial Opens of Palestinian Charged With Assaulting Soldier

"By refusing to release Ahed Tamimi since her arrest on 19 December, the Israeli authorities have shown nothing but contempt for their obligations under worldwide law to protect children", Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director of AI's Middle East and Africa chapters, said in a statement.

Two UN rights experts expressed serious concern [press release] on Tuesday regarding the arrest and detention of Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian girl who became famous for slapping an Israeli soldier during a physical confrontation.

Tamimi, who is now 17 years old, has been held in detention since she was arrested at her home by Israeli soldiers on 19 December 2017.

"Stay strong, stay strong", shouted her father, Bassem, from the back row.

The military court judge demanded that all press should leave the courtroom before the hearing began, citing the protection of the minor when her lawyer objected.

"They understand that people outside Ofer military court are interested in Ahed's case, they understand that her rights are being infringed and her trial is something that shouldn't be happening", Gaby Lasky, Tamimi's lawyer, said in a statement after her proposal for an open trial was shot down. At a previous hearing, the military court at the Ofer army base in the West Bank ordered her held until the end of proceedings.

"Prisoners held on administrative detention in Zionist jails chose to boycott Israeli courts in a final and unprecedented manner... to protest this unjust policy", Issa Qaraqe told a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

She has been charged with 12 counts including assault and could face up to 14 years in jail if convicted. After the prosecution read out the indictment, Tamimi's trial was adjourned until March 11.

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.

Bassem Tamimi told journalists after the adjournment that "having people attend the court - journalists, consuls, diplomats, observers and lawyers - is very important because it keeps them safe and makes us feel that those in court are safe".

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Ahed Tamimi's case has attracted global attention and condemnation, with both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) calling for her release after her December arrest. "The minor (Tamimi) and her parents wanted the doors open and in this case, the court need not decide what is best for her".

It is not uncommon for Israelis - including soldiers - to accidentally enter Palestinian-controlled areas.

Video from the attack shows the mob haranguing and attacking the soldiers as they cried out.

More luridly, Ben Caspit, a prominent journalist, made a rather shocking assertion of how Ahed's type of defiant behavior shockingly deserves to be addressed outside the framework of law: "In the case of girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark without witnesses or cameras".

At the time, protests had erupted in several parts of the West Bank over President Donald Trump's recognition 10 days earlier of contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Mohammed Tamimi, a cousin of Ahed, was seriously wounded by a rubber bullet fired at his head during those protests.

It also touches on the debate over what constitutes legitimate resistance to Israel's rule over several million Palestinians, now in its 51st year. Two Israelis have been killed since then.

An indictment also was filed against Nariman Tamimi, Ahed's mother, who uploaded the video to Facebook.

Palestinians have flooded social media with praise and support.

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