Monday, 19 February, 2018

Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians, 4 former prisoners, in West Bank raids

Crossing Crossing
Ray Hunter | 15 February, 2018, 03:10

A Palestinian teenager who was filmed slapping and hitting two Israeli soldiers at her home in the West Bank went on trial at an Israeli military court on Tuesday away from public scrutiny, where she could be condemned to a very long time in prison.

"The military courts themselves are one of the most injurious mechanisms of the occupation and are not created to seek justice or truth, but to maintain the occupation", Amit Gilutz, spokesperson for Israeli rights group B'Tselem, told Al-Jazeera Tuesday after Ahed's secret trial. Family members could stay, but diplomats and journalists were asked to leave.

A large crowd of journalists had shown up to cover the trial of Tamimi, whose case has gained global attention.

He said the move was meant to protect Ahed's privacy as a minor, but it came despite the fact that the teenager's lawyer, Gaby Lasky, said her client was willing to waive this right.

Lasky went on, "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".

OFER, West Bank — Slouching in her chair and mouthing messages to her friends and family from under a cascade of strawberry-blond curls, Ahed Tamimi in many ways appears to be an everyday teenager. The following month, Tamimi was charged with a number of offenses under Israel military law for both the December incident and for others dating back to April 2016. Demonstrations take place in her village of Nabi Saleh, in the occupied West Bank, every week, with residents priding themselves on their peaceful resistance, though they regularly descend into stone throwing and clashes.

On the eve of her latest appearance the human rights group, Amnesty International, called for her immediate release.

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The court ruled in January that Tamimi will remain in detention until the end of her trial. One photo shows the then 12-year-old raising a clenched fist toward a soldier towering over her.

A hearing into the case of Tamimi opened at the Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old girl was arrested on December 19 and must now respond to the judicial process, while remaining in jail, for which United Nations experts demand respect to the rules of worldwide law and demand her freedom.

Her attorney, Gaby Lasky, has objected, and her father, Bassem, pleaded to the dozens of reporters: "We need the media, and we need the audience for watching and to see what's happening to Ahed because we don't trust this court and we don't trust this system".

Irish artist, Jim Fitzpatrick, dedicated a copy-right free Logo painting to Ahed Tamimi, in which she was portrayed standing and holding the Palestinian flag.

Ahed Tamimi is one of some 350 Palestinian children now in Israeli military detention.

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