Palestinian teen jailed over slap loses bid for release: supporters

Palestinian teen jailed over slap loses bid for release: supporters
Ahed Tamimi, who became a Palestinian icon for slapping an Israeli soldier lost an appeal for her early release on Wednesday, her supporters said.
3 min read
07 June, 2018
Tamimi was hailed as a hero in Palestine [Getty]
A Palestinian teen jailed for slapping an Israeli soldier near her home in the occupied West Bank lost an appeal for her early release, her supporters said on Wednesday.

Ahed Tamimi's case gained international attention when footage emerged of her slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers next to her house in the West Bank in December.

Tamimi was later arrested and eventually accepted a plea bargain in which she was sentenced to an eight-month prison term due to end in mid-July.

On Wednesday an Israeli parole committee rejected the 17-year-old's appeal for early release, said a spokeswoman for a group campaigning on her behalf.

There was no immediate confirmation of the decision from the Israeli side.

Tamimi, who has since turned 17, caught international attention and was praised for her bravery for standing up to the Israeli soldiers who had entered her home.

Her father said the girl was upset after her 15-year-old cousin was shot in the head with a rubber bullet.

The footage shows Tamimi and her cousin approaching two Israeli soldiers and telling them to leave before shoving, kicking and slapping them.

The heavily armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them.

They then move backwards after Tamimi's mother Nariman gets involved.

The incident occurred during a day of clashes across the West Bank against US President Donald Trump's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The widely shared video turned Tamimi into a Palestinian hero. In Israel, the footage sparked debate about the soldiers' refusal to act.

Sexual harassment

In April, Ahed Tamimi’s lawyer filed a complaint accusing the 17-year-old's interrogators of sexual harassment, according to Arab 48.

Gaby Lasky, who represents Tamimi in what the international community considers a grossly unfair case, complained about the lack of investigation following her repeated accusations against one of the interrogators on the case, of what she described as "gross violation of the law", amounting to sexual harassment.

Lasky has twice complained to the attorney general on this issue, however no investigation was opened by the appropriate authorities into investigators from the Israeli military intelligence.

Lasky included in her complaint addressed to the attorney general that one of the interrogators questioned Ahed in a way inappropriate for a female minor including remarks about her looks that amounted to sexual harassment.

Lasky added that the interrogator in question threatened to arrest Tamimi's relatives and interrogate them too, if she continued to remain silent during questioning. 

Lasky also mentioned that despite her age, Tamimi was interrogated simultaneously by two men, without the presence of a female officer in the room or an interrogator  specialised in questioning minors.

"This proves that the [Israeli] law enforcement system infringes upon the rights of Palestinian minors," the complain concluded.

Video footage of Tamimi's interrogation leaked on Sunday to The Daily Beast reportedly shows the teenager enduring two hours of questioning on December 26. 

The then 16-year old calmy asserts her right to remain silent as two male interrogators attempt a range of tactics to get her to talk.

"You have eyes like an angel," says one interrogator to Ahed in Arabic. He then tries to explain how she is like his sister who "spends all his money on clothes," according to the report by The Daily Beast.

Sexual harassment and abuse, including rape, is routinely used by Israeli authorities to humiliate and torture both female and male Palestinian prisoners.