Responding to a ruling on Wednesday by an Israeli military court that 16-year-old Palestinian activistAhed Tamimi, charged with aggravated assault of soldiers and incitement, will remain in custody until the end of her trial, Magdalena Mughrabi, human rights NGO Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said:
“There is nothing that can justify Ahed Tamimi’s continued detention.
“The video of the incident clearly showed that she posed little threat to the soldier she slapped, as he stood in front of her fully armed.
“Her continued detention is outrageously excessive for such a comparatively small crime and entirely inappropriate for a child. We call on the Israeli authorities to release her immediately.
“Ahed Tamimi’s ongoing detention and trial in a military court is an example of the institutional discrimination typical of the treatment of Palestinian children who participate in activism against the Israeli occupation, and shows how Israel is violating its international human rights obligations towards children.
“It would be a major injustice if a prison sentence were imposed on Ahed Tamimi as punishment for her activism against the well-documented oppressive conditions of occupation.”
According to Tamimi’s lawyer, the teenager has faced long and aggressive interrogation sessions – sometimes during the night – and her interrogators have made threats against her family members. According to her family, she has also endured several physically exhausting transfers from prison to court alongside other child detainees, without access to a toilet.
Protest sparked by Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem
Ahed Tamimi was arrested on 19 December after her mother, Nariman, also a prominent activist, posted footage of the altercation in question online. Nariman was arrested later that day, while Ahed’s cousin, Nour, was arrested the following morning.
Ahed confronted Israeli soldiers amid a demonstration – against US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – in the the small village of Nabi Saleh, north-west of Ramallah in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. The incident took place on the same day that Ahed’s cousin, 15-year-old Mohammad, sustained serious injuries after being hit in the head by a rubber bullet fired at close range by an Israeli soldier.
Hundreds of Palestinian children prosecuted every year
There are currently around 350 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and detention centres, according to local human rights organisations.
The Israeli army prosecutes hundreds of Palestinian children in juvenile military courts every year, often after arresting them in night raids and subjecting them to ill-treatment, including blindfolding, threats, harsh interrogations without the presence of their lawyers or families, solitary confinement and in some cases physical violence.
Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are prosecuted under military orders enforced through the military courts, and many criminalise peaceful activities such as peaceful political expression or organising and attending protests without prior permission from an Israeli military commander. The judges and the prosecution in these cases are part of the Israeli military. The jurisdiction of the Israeli military court system is never applied to Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, who are instead governed by Israeli civil law. Incidents of settler violence in the West Bank normally go unpunished, while Palestinians are routinely targeted and arrested.
Amnesty Internationalis a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights with over 7 million members and supporters around the world. The stated objective of the organisation is “to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.”