UN calls on Israel to free Ahed Tamimi
United Nations human-rights investigators called on Israel to free 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi from jail during her trial for assault and incitement, warning that it had violated her rights under international law.
They also demanded that her trial, which began on Tuesday at the Ofer Military Court, be held in public view, including to the media, rather than behind closed doors.
“The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Israel has ratified, clearly states that children are to be deprived of their liberty only as a last resort, and only for the shortest appropriate period of time,” Canadian legal expert Michael Lynk said on Tuesday.
He holds the position of special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory. He typically reports to the UN Human Rights Council which is slated to open its 37th session in Geneva on February 26.
“None of the facts of this case would appear to justify her ongoing detention,” Lynk said.
José Guevara, chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, also said her right to access to legal counsel had been violated when she was first arrested and interrogated on December 19.
“Sadly, this is not an isolated case,” he said. “Figures from Palestine show that Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 to 700 Palestinian children in military courts annually.”
When questioned about the Tamimi case at Tuesday’s press briefing in Washington, State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said: “We are always concerned about excessive use of force, about reports of excessive use of force, especially as it pertains to children.”
For the last five years, Ahed, who lives in Nabi Saleh, 20 km. northwest of Ramallah, has been filmed by activists – a strategy that has turned into a symbol of Palestinian resistance.
In those videos, she is shown yelling, raising her fist and at times hitting soldiers during the weekly demonstrations that take place in her village against the IDF.
She was arrested after one such video that showed her slapping two soldiers outside her home and preventing people from entering and existing.
Her trial involves some 12 charges regarding incidents dating back to April 2016. The next hearing is not until March.