Seventeen-year-old Ahed Tamimi (pictured) is being tried as a minor in a military court
The Israeli military trial of a Palestinian teenager charged after a video showing her slapping two soldiers went viral began today.
The judge ordered journalists to be removed from the courtroom and ruled 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 with diplomats from both nations also asked to leave.
A large crowd of journalists had shown up to cover the trial of Tamimi, whose case has gained international attention.
Trials of minors in military court are typically closed, but Tamimi’s lawyer stated.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.’
A well-known campaigner against Israel’s occupation, Tamimi stands for the beginning of her trial in the Israeli military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia
The judge ejected journalists from the courtroom, saying their presence would not be in favour of the minor
Tamimi has been hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
Israelis accuse her family of using her as a pawn in staged provocations.
She has been charged with 12 counts including assault and could face a lengthy jail term if convicted.
The charges relate to events in the video and five other incidents. They include stone-throwing, incitement and making threats.
The incident occurred during a day of clashes across the West Bank against US President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Violence since Trump’s decision has left 12 Palestinians dead with most killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
The footage was taken in the wake of the riots which followed Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States embassy would move to Jerusalem
A then 12-year-old Ahed Tamimi shouts at an Israeli soldier during a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in 2012
She was praised for her actions by then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who presented her with a ‘courage’ award
Ahed was arrested alongside her mother Nariman who was also involved in the altercation
Tamimi’s lawyer said: ‘The way to keep [the truth] out of everybody’s eyes is to close doors and not allow people inside the court for her hearing’
Tamimi, an icon for Palestinians, was filmed slapping two soldiers and faces charges in a military court. Tamimi was seen smiling in court – she celebrated her seventeenth birthday less than two weeks ago
Tamimi has been marching since she was a young child. Here she is pictured (left) during a protest against discrimination and Jewish settlements in Ramallah, West Bank
The Tamimi family says a relative was shot in the head with a rubber bullet during protests the same day the video was filmed.
The footage shows Tamimi and her cousin approaching two Israeli soldiers and telling them to leave before shoving, kicking and slapping them.
The heavily armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them.
They then move backwards after Tamimi’s mother Nariman becomes involved.
Some Israelis hailed the restraint of the soldiers, but others stated.the Tamimis’ actions merited a tougher response and called for a heavy sentence.
Ahed Tamimi has become something of an icon for Palestinians.
She was photographed biting the hand of an Israeli soldier in 2015 to try to stop the arrest of a brother.
A years-old photograph of her raising her fist at a soldier led to her being received by then Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2012.