Ahed Tamimi's lawyer: There was never a chance for a fair trial

Mahmoud Abbas

Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager filmed slapping an Israeli soldier in the West Bank, has been sentenced to eight months in jail after accepting a plea deal.

Ahed Tamimi, 17, became a symbol of Palestinian defiance to military occupation after she confronted Israeli soldiers outside her home in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on December 15.

Tamimi, who was 16 at the time of the incident, accepted a plea deal this week under which she will be sentenced to eight months in prison.

Tamimi's family have a long history of struggles with Israeli forces.

An Israeli military court ruled on Sunday that proceedings in Ahed's case were to be held behind closed doors, rejecting her appeal for a public trial on the basis that it was for "the minor's benefit". Tamimi's case is exceptional only in sparking public interest and wide media coverage in Israel and overseas. The state, its judges and its PR people (official and otherwise), consider the establishment of the Military Juvenile Court a landmark achievement that supposedly indicates the great importance the state attributes to safeguarding the rights of Palestinian minors tried in this court. Nour was released on 5 January pending trial, and was sentenced today to the time she had already spent in prison.

Following the sentencing, Ahed told reporters that there is "no justice under occupation and we are in an illegal court".

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Ahed al-Tamimi was accused of "attacking" Israeli troops after a video went viral online showing her slapping an Israeli soldier who had trespassed on her family's backyard.

"When they made a decision to keep her trial behind closed doors, we knew that we were not going to get a fair trial", Lasky told AFP in describing her reasons for seeking a plea bargain.

The Israeli human rights group B'tselem said that more than 300 Palestinian minors were in Israeli custody as of last month and responded to Tamimi's sentence by saying it protects "the occupation, not Palestinian minors". Nariman Tamimi was arrested later that day, while Ahed's cousin, Nour Tamimi, was arrested the following morning.

On 7 March, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, passed legislation granting Israeli police authority to withhold bodies of Palestinians within Israel and annexed East Jerusalem - a power that had so far only been officially held by the army in the occupied Palestinian territories, albeit implemented on an ad hoc basis by police.

On the 6 December, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, causing widespread controversy and anger across the world. Hundreds of Palestinian children "remain locked up with little attention on their cases", she added.

Ahed Tamimi, who comes from a family of prominent activists, has been involved in a series of previous incidents, with older pictures of her confronting soldiers widely published.

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