Ahed Tamimi, Palestinian teen who slapped and punched soldiers, goes on trial

Ahed Tamimi, Palestinian teen who slapped and punched soldiers, goes on trial

It is now known by virtually everyone who follows the Palestinian struggle that a 16-year-old girl named Ahed Tamimi, who is now 17, confronted Israeli soldiers on her family's land shortly after her cousin, Mohammed, was shot in the face with a rubber bullet, causing a coma.

Bassem Tamimi sits in Ahed Tamimi's bedroom holding a poster of his daughter, in their home in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, 28 January.

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, who turned 17 behind bars last month, was denied bail by the military court judge and stands little chance of winning her case as such courts have a 99 percent conviction rate.

"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.

Tamimi is indicted on 12 counts, including assaulting an Israeli officer and soldier - as seen in the video - on December 15, and for five additional events in which she allegedly assaulted Israeli forces, threw rocks at them, threatened them, obstructed them during their duties, and participated in riots and incited others to do so.

Ms Tamimi's father, Bassem, said he arrived at the trial "with no good expectations, because this a military court, and it's part of the Israeli military occupation".

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He said the Tamimi case is not isolated, and that Israel detains and prosecutes 500 to 700 Palestinian children in military courts annually.

The UN experts also said that "her place of detention - Hasharon prison in Israel - [is] in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that the deportation of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power, or to that of any other country, is prohibited, regardless of the motive".

The experts called on the Israeli authorities to respect and ensure basic due process rights, with particular attention to the rights and protections afforded to children and re-emphasized their call for Tamimi to be released in accordance with these protections. He further reflected on his sister, who died after one of his remand hearings in the 1990s, "My sister died in one of these courts, we need the people and the media inside with us". Tamimi has been in custody since her arrest in mid-December.

Said Mr Fitzpatrick: "I became aware of Ahed Tamimi about two years ago and I was kind of struck by this girl standing up to Israeli soldiers".

Prosecutors requested more time to prepare a response and a new date was set for March 11, according to Lasky. "Dream Defenders stands with them and all Palestinians in their righteous struggle", the petition contiuned adding that a delegation from the group had gone to Palestine late past year and met with different communities including the Tamimi family.

The heavily armed soldiers do not respond to what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them. In 2015 a video of her, along with female members of her family, went viral showing her fighting an Israeli occupation soldier who was pinning down her 12-year old male cousin. Nariman Tamimi also was charged with incitement to terrorism on Facebook for posting the video of the incident.

"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".

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