OFER: A Palestinian teenager charged after a viral video showed her hitting two Israeli soldiers in a case that has gained global attention went on trial in military court on Tuesday in closed-door proceedings.
The judge in the trial ordered journalists removed from the courtroom, ruling that open proceedings would not be in the interest of 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, who is being tried as a minor.
Only family members were allowed to remain in the courtroom, with diplomats present to observe also asked to leave.
A large crowd of local and international journalists had shown up to cover the trial of Tamimi, who has become something of an icon for Palestinians and supporters of their cause worldwide.
Trials of minors in military court are typically closed, but Tamimi’s lawyer said previous hearings for the teenager were open and she argued for it to remain that way.
“They understand that people outside Ofer military court are interested in Ahed’s case, they understand that her rights are being infringed and her trial is something that shouldn’t be happening,” Tamimi’s lawyer Gaby Lasky told journalists after having unsuccessfully objected to the judge’s decision to close the trial.
“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.” Tamimi arrived at the military court near Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank dressed in a prison jacket with her hands and feet shackled, smiling slightly as journalists photographed her.
Her father Bassem Tamimi waved to her from the audience, yelling out “stay strong, you will win”. Closed-door proceedings were held for a couple hours before adjourning.
Lasky said she argued that the trial could not move forward because Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its court system there was illegal. Prosecutors requested more time to prepare a response and a new date was set for March 11, according to Lasky.
Lasky added that she would make a new request to have the trial opened.
Bassem Tamimi told journalists after the adjournment that “having people attend the court — journalists, consuls, diplomats, observers and lawyers — is very important because it keeps them safe and makes us feel that those in court are safe.” Tamimi has been hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2018