Soldier-slapping Palestinian teen agrees to plea deal with 8-month sentence

Soldier-slapping Palestinian teen agrees to plea deal with 8-month sentence

As part of agreement, yet to be approved by military court, 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi will admit to assaulting IDF soldiers in December incident

Ahed Tamimi (C) attends a hearing at the Ofer military court in the West Bank on December 28, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
Ahed Tamimi (C) attends a hearing at the Ofer military court in the West Bank on December 28, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi signed a plea deal Wednesday that, if accepted by an Israeli military court, will see her serve eight months in prison for assaulting an Israeli soldier and a number of other charges.

Tamimi, 17, was arrested four months ago after being filmed slapping and shoving IDF soldiers in her West Bank village of Nebi Saleh.

Her cousin Nour Tamimi, who was with Ahed during the incident, will serve a five-month prison sentence, according to the plea bargain.

Under the deal, both Palestinian teenagers will admit to their role in the December fight.

In Ahed Tamimi’s version of the incident, shared before the court during a hearing last month, she said that the same 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,” the teenager testified.

Gaby Lasky, the lawyer representing the Tamimi’s, said that both girls had agreed to the plea deal but that it still needed to be approved by the Ofer Military Court, which is set to rule on the case later Wednesday.

Her sentence would include time served and a fine of 5,000 shekels ($1,430), said Lasky, meaning she could be released in the summer.

She would plead guilty to only four of the 12 charges against her under the agreement, including assault, incitement and two counts of obstructing soldiers, Lasky said.

Lasky however said she only planned to present the plea bargain to the military court if it first accepts an agreement with Tamimi’s mother, Nariman Tamimi.

Responding to the agreement, Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch, slammed the Israeli justice system, which she suggested unfairly jailed Palestinian children.

“Ahed will be home in a few months, but Israel is putting this child behind bars for eight months for calling for protests and slapping a soldier, after threatening her with years in jail,” Whitson said in a statement.

“Plea bargains are the norm in Israel’s military justice system, which is characterized by prolonged pretrial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials. Hundreds of Palestinian children remain locked up with little attention on their cases,” she continued.

Ahed Tamimi was 16 at the time of the incident. Just over a month after her December 19 arrest, a military judge ruled to extend her remand until the end of proceedings against her. Nour Tamimi was released after being charged for her participation in the December 15 incident.

Tamimi’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

This file photo taken on May 12, 2017 shows 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi (C) protesting before Israeli forces in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, after a demonstration following Friday prayers in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

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.

Nabi Saleh has been a frequent staging ground for provoked clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, specifically members of the Tamimi clan, which has a history of getting involved in highly publicized interactions with the IDF.

In August 2015, an IDF soldier was caught on film trying to arrest Ahed’s cousin Muhammad Tamimi, who had been throwing rocks during a violent protest.

In 2012, Ahed Tamimi gained fame among Palestinian activists for an incident in which she led a group of children, including her younger brother, in arguing with Israeli soldiers.

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