LONDON - The continued imprisonment of Palestinian child activist Ahed Tamimi is a flagrant attempt to intimidate those who dare challenge the circumstances of the ongoing occupation, Amnesty International said today after she was sentenced to eight months and a 5,000 shekels fine (around US$ 1,400) with a three year suspended sentence after entering into a plea deal at Ofer military court in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
17-year-old Ahed Tamimi was 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 2017 went viral on Facebook.
“By sentencing Ahed to eight months in prison the Israeli authorities have confirmed yet again that they have no regard for the rights of Palestinian children, and have no intention to reverse their discriminatory policies. 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,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and Africa.
“Today’s sentence is another alarming example of the Israeli authorities’ contempt for their obligations to protect the basic rights of Palestinians living under their occupation, especially children. Ahed Tamimi is a minor. Nothing she did warrants her continued imprisonment and she must be released immediately.”
Ahed was convicted on four of the 12 charges against her including incitement, aggravated assault and two counts of obstructing Israeli soldiers. Her mother Nariman was sentenced to eight months in prison in addition to a fine of 6,000 shekels (around US$ 1,780) and a three-year suspended sentenced for assisting in assaulting a soldier, obstructing a soldier and incitement. Ahed’s cousin, Noor Tamimi, was fined 2,000 shekels (around US$500).
“The Israeli authorities must stop responding to relatively small acts of defiance with such disproportionately harsh punishments. By ruthlessly targeting Palestinians, including children, who dare challenge Israel’s oppressive occupation, the authorities are neglecting their responsibilities under international law as an occupying force.”
Hundreds of Palestinian children are prosecuted every year through Israeli juvenile military courts. Those arrested are systematically denied their rights and subjected to ill-treatment including in some cases physical violence. There are currently approximately 350 Palestinian children in Israeli detention.
Ahed Tamimi was arrested on 19 December 2017 after her mother, Nariman Tamimi, also a prominent activist, posted the footage of her altercation with Israeli soldiers online. Nariman Tamimi was arrested later that day, while Ahed’s cousin, Nour Tamimi, was arrested the following morning. Nour was released on 5 January pending trial, and was sentenced today to the time she had already spent in prison.
Ahed confronted the soldiers amid a demonstration in Nabi Saleh against US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The incident took place on the same day that one of Ahed’s other cousin, 15-year-old Mohammad Tamimi, was hit in the head at close range by a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier and sustained serious injuries.