Ahed Tamimi: Palestinian teen gets eight-month jail term

The 17-year-old activist was arrested after footage emerged of her slapping an Israeli soldier

Ahed Tamimi
Ahed Tamimi appears in military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank 
(Image credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager filmed slapping an Israeli soldier in the West Bank, has been sentenced to eight months in jail after accepting a plea deal.

As part of the agreement, the 17-year-old activist pled guilty to four of the 12 charges she faced, including assault and incitement. She is due to be released in July as she has already served four months in prison.

A video of her hitting and kicking an armed soldier in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh went viral in December after being live-streamed on Facebook by her mother.

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The teenager was later arrested in a dawn raid. Denied bail, she was tried behind closed doors in a military court.

During her trial, Tamimi said she attacked the soldier after seeing Israeli troops shoot her 15-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet.

Tamimi has since become “a cause célèbre” in the Middle East with protesters and human rights organisations demanding her release, the Times of Israel reports.

To Palestinians, she is a freedom fighter and a symbol of the resistance to occupation, but Israeli politicians, including culture minister Miri Regev, have denounced her as a terrorist.

“She is not a little girl, she is a terrorist,” Regev said. “It’s about time they understood that people like her have to be in jail and [should] not be allowed to incite racism and subversion against the state of Israel.”

Palestinians face an almost 100 percent conviction rate in Israel’s military courts, leaving them with little hope of a fair trial, Al Jazeera reports.

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Plea bargains are “the norm” in Israel’s military justice system, which is “characterised by prolonged pretrial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials,” says Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch.

“Hundreds of Palestinian children remain locked up with little attention on their cases,” he says.

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