A parole board on Wednesday rejected a petition for the early release of 17-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, who was given an eight-month prison sentence after she was filmed slapping and shoving Israeli soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh late last year.
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.
As she left the prison hearing, she was quoted as telling the panel, “You have no right to decide my fate. I will leave prison with my head held high.”
The 17-year-old’s sentence — handed down in March as part of a plea deal — included time already served since her arrest four days after the quarrel in mid-December, meaning she is slated to be released in the summer. The verdict also tacked on a fine of NIS 5,000 ($1,430).
In her 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.
In February, the outgoing Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Major General Yoav Mordechai said 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi had admitted under questioning that he had sustained head injuries from falling off his bike and hitting his head on the handlebars.
Citing an article in which Muhammad’s father Fadel described how his son took a rubber bullet to the skull while witnessing December clashes with IDF soldiers, Mordechai blasted the Tamimi family as a group of con artists.
But records from the boy’s visit to the Istishari Hospital in Ramallah appeared to contradict Mordechai’s claim, starting: “The above-mentioned patient presented to our hospital on 15/12/2017 immediately after a bullet injury (head trauma) by Israeli soldiers (left maxillary area entrance, no exit wound).”
Ahed Tamimi’s arrest and prosecution by Israel has garnered international attention.
Agencies contributed to this report.