UN calls on Is­rael to free Ahed Tamimi

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By TOVAH LAZAROFF

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.

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