Israel's Ofer military court ruled Monday to deny 17-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi’s request for a public trial. Tamimi was taken from her home in Nabi Saleh in December 2017 and charged with assault and incitement for slapping two occupation soldiers in full gear.
Tamimi’s trial has been held behind closed doors despite reiterated requests by Tamimi’s defense team for a public trial. According to Judge Lt. General Menahem Liberman, the decision seeks to protect Tamimi’s right to privacy as a minor, but her family, her lawyers and supporters argue the court’s decision seeks to curtail international attention.
Ahed faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty on 12 different charges, including assault and incitement. Her defense team fears a closed-doors trial will allow the court to act with impunity.
Fadi Quran, coordinator of the Free Ahed Tamimi campaign, told Mondoweiss “Israel has made an immense effort to endanger her by putting her in the public spotlight for the past four months and by targeting her family for the last 10 years. It is hypocritical now to claim they want to protect her privacy.”
Meanwhile Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi visited his daughter and wife in prison Monday for the first time since they were both arrested in December. The mother Nariman was arrested a day after Ahed for videotaping her daughter’s encounter with the Israeli soldiers.
Bassem said he spoke to Ahed and his wife Nariman for 45 minutes, using a telephone as they sat on the other side of a window, according to local Israeli media. He said they were both in good spirits and that Ahed was focusing on her English studies.
The Tamimi family has been in the forefront of the struggle against the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Israeli occupation has been actively persecuting the family for decades over their weekly protests against the theft of their lands in favor of the illegal Jewish settlement of Halamish near Nabi Saleh. Several members of the family have been detained and killed over the years.
Most recently her cousin Mohammad Fadel Tamimi was shot in the head at close range with a rubber-coated steel bullet. Part of his skull had to be removed to dislodge the bullet. Despite his injury, Israeli occupation forces kidnapped him and interrogated him without his parents or a lawyer present.
Ahed’s case has claimed a high profile internationally as it sheds light on Israel’s policy on child detention. Currently, there are over 300 children detained in Israeli prisons.