United Nations rights experts alarmed by detention of Palestinian girl

Trial begins for Palestinian accused of assaulting Israeli soldiers

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"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 in a statement. Four days earlier, she was filmed physically confronting Israeli soldiers on her family's property in Nabi Salah, in the occupied West Bank.

The judge ordered the proceedings to be held behind closed doors and journalists were removed from the Ofer military base near Ramallah, despite a request by the defence lawyer for the media to be allowed to observe proceedings.

Israel's Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Tamimi and her mother deserved to "finish their lives in prison".

Ahed Tamimi and her mother have been ordered held in custody until the end of the proceedings, while her cousin has been released on bail.

Palestinian protest icon Ahed Tamimi is in a courtroom at the Ofer military prison near Jerusalem, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. "So the way to keep it out of everybody's eyes is to close doors and not allow people inside the court for her hearing".

Ahed Tamimi, who comes from a family of anti-Israel activists, is standing trial for the incident in the video and five other incidents including rock throwing, incitement and making threats. For Palestinians, the young teen is a symbol of resistance to Israeli occupation, but many Israelis regard her as a violent troublemaker seeking publicity.

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Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old girl, arrived in court to face 12 charges including assaulting security forces, incitement and throwing stones.

In later events captured on video, Ahed yells at the soldiers to leave, slapping one and punching the other in the head. She could not have known that these soldiers would not violently retaliate, as indeed some Israelis wished had happened to avoid "humiliation" on the Israeli side.

"The court chose to close the doors [to the trial] because they claim that it is in Ahed's best interest".

Ahed's lawyer accuses the military of breaking the United Nations convention on the rights of a child during her nighttime arrest and interrogation, during which she says Ahed was threatened.

In the December 15 video, she talks about President Donald Trump's recognition a week earlier of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. She could face several months or years in jail if convicted.

Mira Regev's reaction to the Tamimi video clip situates the Israeli reaction to Ahed Tamimi's in ways that seem to reflect the dominant mood in the country that perversely reverses the realities of oppressor and oppressed, victimizers and victims: "When I watched that I felt humiliated". She was denied bail at her hearing last month, with the prosecution arguing that she was risky and posed a risk of absconding.

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Tamimi's hearing has been twice delayed since it was scheduled to begin on January 31.

"The Israeli military supposes by arresting Ahed Tamimi they can silence their activism", said Fadi Quran, a senior campaigner with the activist group Avaaz.

There were 352 Palestinian children held in Israeli prisons as security detainees at the end of past year, according to B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.

Global human rights groups have criticized the aggressive prosecution, and diplomats from the European Union and several European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, attended Tuesday's hearing as observers before they were kicked out along with journalists.

"While our struggles may be unique, the parallels can not be ignored", they add, noting that United States police, border patrol and other law enforcement "train with Israeli soldiers, police, and border agents, utilizing similar repressive profiling tactics to target and harass our communities".

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