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Amnesty Calls for Release of Teen Arrested for Slapping Israeli Soldiers

Amnesty Calls for Release of Teen Arrested for Slapping Israeli Soldiers

There has been worldwide outcry at a further delay in the military trial of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who was arrested in December for kicking and slapping two Israeli soldiers.

Ahed Tamimi, 17, has drawn global attention following her arrest after the December 15 confrontation with an Israeli officer and a soldier outside her West Bank home of Nabi Saleh.

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 are interested in Ahed's case, they understand that her rights are being infringed on and her trial is something that shouldn't be happening", lawyer Gaby Lasky said.

The case has sparked much controversy, her advocates touting her as a hero of Palestinian resistance, and Human rights group Amnesty International is calling for her immediate release, citing an international convention on the "Rights of the Child" not to be arrested except as "a last resort". Her mother, Nariman Tamimi, also is charged for incitement on social media and for assault. On 13 February, she was seen entering the courtroom at the Ofer military prison near Ramallah for preliminary trial hearings. "It about time they will understand that people like her have to be in jail and not allowed to incite racism and subversion against the state of Israel".

Tamimi's hearing has been twice delayed since it was scheduled to begin on January 31. For many Israelis, Tamimi is a provocateur who goads soldiers on video and champions rock-throwing, influenced by relatives who have been involved in protests and attacks against Israelis. At a previous hearing, the military court at the Ofer army base in the West Bank ordered her held until the end of proceedings.

Israel's full-throttle prosecution of Tamimi, one of an estimated 300 Palestinian minors in Israeli jails, and a senior Israeli official's recent revelation that he once had parliament investigate whether the blond, blue-eyed Tamimis are a "real" Palestinian family have helped stoke ongoing interest in the case.

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

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"The court decided what is best for the court, and not what is good for Ahed", Lasky later told reporters, accusing the judge of trying to keep the world from watching. Tamimi remains in custody.

The scuffle took place amid clashes and protests against US President Donald Trump's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

She was arrested during a night raid four days later, after a video of her threatening and beating two Israel Defense Forces soldiers went viral.

The heavily armed soldiers do not respond to what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them.

In later events captured on video, Ahed yells at the soldiers to leave, slapping one and punching the other in the head.

Human rights groups have protested the minor's imprisonment and demanded she be released for the period of her trial.

The experts also called on 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 line with these protections.

"While our struggles may be unique, the parallels can not be ignored", they add, noting that U.S. 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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