Palestinian teenage 'hero' Ahed Tamimi released from Israeli prison

Palestinian teenage 'hero' Ahed Tamimi released from Israeli prison
Palestinian icon Ahed Tamimi was released from Israeli prison on Sunday after enduring eight months of imprisonment.
3 min read
29 July, 2018
Ahed Tamimi was released on Sunday [Getty]

Palestinian icon Ahed Tamimi was released from prison on Sunday after an eight-month sentence for slapping two Israeli soldiers, an episode captured on video that made her a symbol of resistance for Palestinians.

Palestinian "hero" Tamimi, 17, and her mother Nariman were driven early on Sunday from the Sharon prison inside Israel to a checkpoint leading to the occupied West Bank, where the Tamimi family live, prison spokesman Assaf Librati said.

They were then handed over to Israeli soldiers, he said, who brought them to their village of Nabi Saleh.

After being released by the soldiers, Tamimi made brief comments to crowds and journalists gathered, saying she hoped everyone would come to a news conference later in the day.

Her father Bassem put his arms around the two of them as they walked together along the road, the crowd chanting "we want to live in freedom".

Read also: Israel denies shooting Ahed Tamimi's cousin in head after late-night interrogation of injured teenager

Family members and supporters had also gathered at the checkpoint to greet them, but the military vehicles driving them did not stop there and continued into the West Bank.

Tamimi and her mother were first expected to arrive at a checkpoint near the Palestinian city of Tulkarm in the West Bank, but the location was changed three times before it was finally announced they were being taken to a crossing at Rantis, about an hour's drive away.

There had been slight tension at the checkpoint before Tamimi's arrival as a few men with Israeli flags approached supporters holding a Palestinian flags. Words were exchanged but there was no violence.

Israeli authorities appeared keen to avoid media coverage as much as possible, and conflicting information had meant supporters and journalists scrambled to arrive on time at the correct location.

Israeli authorities on Saturday also arrested two Italians and a Palestinian for painting Tamimi's now-familiar image on the Israeli separation wall cutting off the occupied West Bank.

Both Tamimi and her mother were sentenced to eight months in an Israeli military court following a plea deal over the December incident, which the family said took place in their yard in Nabi Saleh.

Institutional child abuse

Ahed Tamimi has alleged harassment by Israeli forces and has been an icon of standing up to soldiers occupying her village since eight-years-old.

While she was in prison, Ahed Tamimi's lawyer reportedly filed a complaint accusing the 17-year-old's interrogators of sexual harassment.

Gaby Lasky, complained about the lack of investigation in April 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 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.

Much of the international community considers Tamimi's grounds for arrest a grossly unfair case.

Agencies contributed to this report.