Ahed Tamimi's Trial To Be Continued Behind Closed Doors

BETUNIA VILLAGE: Seventeen-year-old Ahed Tamimi arrives for her trial at a military court here on Tuesday.—AFP

BETUNIA VILLAGE: Seventeen-year-old Ahed Tamimi arrives for her trial at a military court here on Tuesday.—AFP

Palestinian protester Ahed Tamimi went on trial behind closed doors in an Israeli military court Tuesday for slapping and punching two Israeli soldiers - the opening of a high-profile case against the teen who is seen as a Joan of Arc-like heroine.

In the court hearing that was held behind closed doors, the judge chose to extend the detention of the 17-year-old girl until March 11 without giving further details.

She has been in detention since her arrest December 19, four days after she was filmed confronting the soldiers outside her West Bank home.

But Tamimi's lawyer, Gaby Lasky, criticized the decision saying, "It's odd that the court decided - after sending Ahed into detention until the end of her trial and after her name had already been publicized - that it is in her interests to conduct the trial far off from public view".

Ahed Tamimi, who comes from a family of anti-Israel activists, is standing trial for the incident in the video and five other incidents including rock throwing, incitement and making threats.

On Tuesday morning, Ahed Tamimi once again was brought before an Israeli military court at the Ofer Military Prison. He said the occupation has robbed her of a normal childhood, that it's better for her to confront it than to fear it, and that he believes her generation will lead Palestinians to freedom. Petra Marquardt-Bigman is a German-Israeli researcher wrote a scathing op-ed in the Haaretz, describing the Tamimi family as espousing a "seething Jew-hatred and the enthusiastic support for terrorism". "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", she said. For Palestinians, the young teen is a symbol of resistance to Israeli occupation, but many Israelis regard her as a violent troublemaker seeking publicity.

Tamimi's family has said that she struck the two soldiers outside her West Bank home in frustration after having just learned that Israeli troops seriously wounded a 15-year-old cousin, shooting him in the head from close range with a rubber bullet during nearby stone-throwing clashes.

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Only family members were allowed to remain in the courtroom, with diplomats present to observe also asked to leave.

The advocacy group Amnesty International and the family of a Palestinian teenager arrested for hitting an Israeli soldier "work closely together,". She said she is still waiting to receive case material from the prosecutor, that her client did not enter a plea and that the next hearing would be March 11.

At the time, protests had erupted in several parts of the West Bank over President Donald Trump's recognition 10 days earlier of contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Commenting on the judge's claim that the court session was closed for Ahed's own good, the teenager's lawyer Gaby Lasky told media, "I think that the [judge] does not think it is good for the court".

On 1 January 2018, Tamimi was charged with a number of offences under Israeli military law, some stemming from the 15 December incident, and others dating back to April 2016.

Lasky also pointed out that multiple court hearings relating to Tamimi had already been held that included a massive media and diplomatic presence, as well as that a video of Tamimi, which is the main subject of the trial, already went viral on social media. In one, taken when she was 12, she is raising a clenched fist at a soldier who towers over her. "That's exactly what Tamimi is accused of doing, by using force against soldiers".

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

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