Introduction — Feb 13, 2018
16-year-old Ahed Tamimi was charged with assault after she slapped and kicked two armed IDF soldiers as she tried to prevent them entering the family property. A video of the incident went viral.
However, the following report fails to highlight some crucial background. For the week before the incident her cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, 16, had been shot in the head by an IDF rubber bullet. Although his injuries were not life threatening, they were severe nonetheless and will remain with him for the rest of his life.
The following report only makes a passing reference to this and fails to elaborate on the extent and severity of her cousin’s injuries. It’s a crucial omission in that it explains the anger with which Ahed confronted the Israeli soldiers.
The Israelis are obviously doing their utmost to prevent her being seen as a martyr; holding her trial in secret and denying the media and international human rights observers access to the proceedings. This is undoubtedly to minimise attention given to the Palestinian teen, who was brought to trial in chains and who the authorities probably intend to make an example of. As a result she could face a lengthy jail sentence. Ed.
Trial of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi begins in secret in Israeli military court
AFP — Feb 13, 2018
A Palestinian teenager charged after a viral video showed her hitting two Israeli soldiers in a case that has gained global attention went on trial in military court on Tuesday in closed-door proceedings.
The judge in the trial ordered journalists removed from the courtroom, ruling that open proceedings would not be in the interest of 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, who is being tried as a minor.
Only family members were allowed to remain in the courtroom, with diplomats present to observe also asked to leave.
A large crowd of local and international journalists had shown up to cover the trial of Tamimi, who has become something of an icon for Palestinians and supporters of their cause worldwide.
Trials of minors in military court are typically closed, but Tamimi’s lawyer said previous hearings for the teenager were open and she argued for it to remain that way.
“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,” Tamimi’s lawyer Gaby Lasky told journalists after having unsuccessfully objected to the judge’s decision to close the trial.
“So the way to keep it out of everybody’s eyes is to close doors and not allow people inside the court for her hearing.”
Tamimi arrived at the military court near Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank dressed in a prison jacket with her hands and feet shackled, smiling slightly as journalists photographed her.
Her father Bassem Tamimi waved to her from the audience, yelling out “stay strong, you will win.”
Closed-door proceedings were held for a couple hours before adjourning. Lasky said she argued that the trial could not move forward because Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its court system there is illegal.
Prosecutors requested more time to prepare a response and a new date was set for March 11, according to Lasky.
Lasky added that she would make a new request to have the trial opened.
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.”
Tamimi has been hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
Israelis accuse her family of using her as a pawn in staged provocations.
She has been charged with 12 counts including assault and could face a lengthy jail term if convicted.
The charges relate to events in the video and five other incidents. They include stone-throwing, incitement and making threats.
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.
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.”