Amnesty International has urged Israeli authorities to release 16-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, ahead of a military court appearance today.
“Tamimi will go before Ofer military court in the occupied West Bank accused of aggravated assault and 11 other charges after a video showing her shoving, slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers in her home village of Nabi Saleh on 15 December went viral on Facebook,” Amnesty notes.
“Nothing that Ahed Tamimi has done can justify the continuing detention of a 16-year-old girl.” said Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty.
“The Israeli authorities must release her without delay. In capturing an unarmed teenage girl’s assault on two armed soldiers wearing protective gear, the footage of this incident shows that she posed no actual threat and that her punishment is blatantly disproportionate.”
Ahed Tamimi’s ensuing arrest and military trial exposes the Israeli authorities’ discriminatory treatment of Palestinian children who dare to stand up to ongoing, often brutal, repression by occupying forces.
Amnesty noted that “the incident took place on the same day that Ahed’s cousin, 15-year-old Mohammad Tamimi, was hit in the head at close range by a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier.”
The viral video showed that “the soldiers, who were standing on the edge of the family’s walled front yard and armed with assault rifles, were able to lightly swat away Ahed’s slaps and kicks,” Amnesty added.
According to Amnesty, “under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a state party, the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child must be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.”
“Israel is clearly, brazenly flouting its obligations under international law to protect children from overly harsh criminal punishments,” Mughrabi added.
“It would be an unconscionable travesty of justice if Ahed Tamini’s act of defiance in the face of relentless oppression earns her a long prison sentence after a trial in a military court that does not ensure basic fair trial standards.”