Ahed Tamimi to be freed Sunday after serving time for hitting soldier

17-year-old will exit Hasharon prison after 8 months along with her mother Nariman; pair will hold press conference at Bedouin village slated for demolition

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Ahed Tamimi arrives for the beginning of her trial in the Israeli military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on February 13, 2018. (Flash90)
Ahed Tamimi arrives for the beginning of her trial in the Israeli military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on February 13, 2018. (Flash90)

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi, who was sentenced to eight-months in prison after being filmed slapping and shoving IDF soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh late last year, is slated to be released from prison on Sunday.

A spokesman for the Israel Prisons Service told The Times of Israel Wednesday that the 17-year-old will be released along with her mother Nariman on Sunday.

The two are expected to be released at the Jabara checkpoint near the Palestinian city of Tulkarem. They are then planning to hold a press conference at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, which is slated for demolition by Israeli forces.

Ahed’s father Bassem declined to comment beyond saying he was eagerly awaiting his wife and daughter’s release.

Since their arrests days after the December 15 incident, Ahed and Nariman have remained in the Hasharon Prison in central Israel. Their sentence, handed down in March, have included time already served. The teen’s cousin Nour was also indicted for her involvement in the quarrel, but she was released in January as the charges against her were less severe.

Under the terms of the plea bargain, Ahed admitted to the aggravated assault of an IDF soldier, incitement to violence and disrupting soldiers on two other occasions.

Nariman pleaded guilty for crimes of incitement, disrupting a soldier, and assisting in the assault of a soldier.

The two were arrested after a video emerged showing Ahed and her cousin yelling at Israeli troops near her home and slapping one of the soldiers. The incident was filmed by Nariman and streamed live online.

In Ahed’s version of the incident, shared in court during a hearing in December, Tamimi said the soldiers featured in the video had shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet an hour prior to the filmed encounter.

“Then I saw the same soldiers who hit my cousin, this time in front of my house. I could not keep quiet and I responded as I did,” Tamimi testified.

Ahed’s incarceration has drawn attention from around the globe, highlighting the teen’s image as a Palestinian icon. She has become a cause célèbre for Palestinian supporters, and rallies have been held in several locations calling for her release.

Many Palestinians see her as bravely standing up to military control over the West Bank, while Israelis accuse her family of using her as a pawn.

Nour Tamimi, second left, and her aunt Nariman Tamimi, second right, attend a hearing at the Ofer military court in the West Bank on January 1, 2018. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Last month, a parole board rejected a petition for the early release of the 17-year-old.

The petition lodged by her attorney asked that Tamimi’s sentence be cut by one-third.

Officials from the Shin Bet security service had protested her release, arguing that freeing Tamimi could exacerbate tensions in the West Bank.

Moreover, the Shin Bet had underlined that Tamimi has yet to express remorse for her actions.


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