Closed-door trial of Palestinian teen opens

Closed-door trial of Palestinian teen opens

The 17-year-old girl was arrested on December 19 and must now respond to the judicial process, while remaining in jail, for which United Nations experts demand respect to the rules of worldwide law and demand her freedom.

Haaretz commentator Anshel Pfeffer praised the judge's order as a "stroke of genius" that would "prevent the court from becoming a media circus and providing Tamimi, her family, lawyers and activists with a convenient opportunity to put the occupation on trial".

Tamimi, who turned 17 in prison last month, was led into a courtroom packed with journalists, several European diplomats and members of her family.

"They understand that people outside Ofer military court are interested in Ahed's case, they understand that her rights are being infringed and her trial is something that shouldn't be happening", Gaby Lasky, Tamimi's lawyer, said in a statement after her proposal for an open trial was shot down.

Amnesty International has called for her immediate release, saying her "continued detention is a desperate attempt to intimidate Palestinian children who dare to stand up to repression by occupying forces".

"By refusing to release Ahed Tamimi since her arrest on 19 December, the Israeli authorities have shown nothing but contempt for their obligations under worldwide law to protect children", Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director of AI's Middle East and Africa chapters, said.

Both mother and her minor daughter are being held in prison.

On Tuesday, Ahed was brought before the Ofer military court in the occupied West Bank.

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"The military courts themselves are one of the most injurious mechanisms of the occupation and are not created to seek justice or truth, but to maintain the occupation", Amit Gilutz, spokesperson for Israeli rights group B'Tselem, told Al-Jazeera Tuesday after Ahed's secret trial.

Commenting on the case in a conference call hosted by The Israel Project, Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch described her parents as "the ones who are really abusing her and pushing her into committing the same offenses". He further reflected on his sister, who died after one of his remand hearings in the 1990s, "My sister died in one of these courts, we need the people and the media inside with us".

Meanwhile, 27 American cultural figures, including actors, civil rights leaders and sports figures, signed an open letter Monday calling for Ahed's release and supporting a bill introduced late past year in the U.S. House of Representatives called the "Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act".

The advocacy group Amnesty International and the family of a Palestinian teenager arrested for hitting an Israeli soldier "work closely together,".

The judge reportedly chose to close the doors to the courtroom in the Ofer courthouse to everyone except Tamimi's family.

In the December 15 video, she talks about President Donald Trump's recognition a week earlier of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. She said she is still waiting for case material from the prosecutor, that her client did not enter a plea and that the next hearing would be March 11.

Other critics insist that the incident was staged by the Palestinians, with cameras at the ready, and not as spontaneous as the video wants us to believe.

United Nations experts have pointed out that Tamimi was arrested in the middle of the night by armed soldiers, and questioned by Israeli security officials without a lawyer or family members present. In 2015 a video of her, along with female members of her family, went viral showing her fighting an Israeli occupation soldier who was pinning down her 12-year old male cousin. "The minor (Tamimi) and her parents wanted the doors open and in this case, the court need not decide what is best for her". She was arrested for slapping an IDF soldier.

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