Amid a campaign by the large local Palestinian community, the Chilean government expressed Friday its “great concern” over the case of Palestinian iconic teen Ahed Tamimi, who is being tried by an Israeli military court in secret proceedings in a case that has garnered massive international attention.
"In view of this unfortunate situation affecting a minor, the Chilean government reiterated to the representation of Israel the need for the rights of the Palestinian minor to be fully respected,” said a statement released by Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The statement added that the foreign ministry expressed this “great concern” to the Israeli embassy saying that the Israeli government must provide “guarantees of due process” and that the judiciary has the responsibility to properly evaluate the “the circumstances and area of tension” in which the incident took place.
The statement concluded by saying that the Chilean government “awaits the prompt release of Ahed Tamimi.”
In December Ahed was arrested and indicted on 12 charges including assaulting an Israeli soldier and throwing stones after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier in her home’s yard went viral. It was revealed later that the Palestinian girl was upset after soldiers had shot her 14-year-old cousin in the face a day earlier.
The tempered statement came hours after the influential Palestinian community in Chile, which amounts to more than 200,000 people and is the biggest in the world outside of the Arab world, launched a local campaign calling for Ahed’s release.
Activists within the community began spreading posters in public roads and bus stops in major cities with the slogans "Freedom for Ahed Tamimi".
"Tamimi’s case is one of those of more than 300 Palestinian children who are currently imprisoned in Israeli jails, deprived of their childhood and future,” Nadia Garib, the president of the Palestine Federation of Chile, said according to local media.
“As Chileans of Palestinian origin, we ask that the government of Chile to join the international campaign calling for the liberation of Tamimi and demand an end to Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, which has now been in full swing for more than 50 years with total impunity.”
A day earlier Chilean Senator Francisco Chahuán, who is also of Palestinian origin took to Twitter to demand action from the government.
"We demand the release of young Palestinian Ahed Tamimi! We ask the Foreign Ministry to join this world petition in favor of her human rights and public liberties," he said from his Twitter account.
“She represents the heart of the Palestinian cause and the right to self-determination of the people," he said in another tweet Friday thanking the ministry for its statement.
The teen, who turned 17 behind bars last month, has received large international attention and solidarity since her arrest as many prominent actors, artists and academics in the United States and other countries signed letters and petitions calling for her release.