Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi enters a military courtroom escorted by Israeli Prison Service personnel at Ofer Prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 28, 2017. .
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
The Parole Board on Wednesday denied Ahed Tamimi's request for an early release from prison based on her refusal to express regret, her non-participation in any rehabilitation program and what it considered to be potential harm to public safety.
Tamimi's lawyer, Gaby Lasky, had argued to the board that her actions were mostly political speech and had not really endangered anyone.
On March 21, the Judea Military Court sentenced Tamimi to eight months in prison as part of a plea deal in which she confessed to incitement as well as to some of the 10 or so charges of disturbance and of trying to rough up IDF soldiers.
The ruling on Wednesday meant she will serve about five more months, since she had already served three months, besides for the need to pay a NIS 5,000 fine.
Human Rights Watch responded to a plea deal at the time, saying, “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. Plea bargains are the norm in Israel’s military justice system, which is characterized by prolonged pretrial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials.”
The IDF rejects criticism of plea bargains, arguing that they are the norm in many Western legal systems.
Some critical global media reports had guessed that Tamimi might face over 10 years in prison, but The Jerusalem Post
had learned that, even if convicted, Tamimi was likely to face around a year in prison or even less.
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Coming only days after the IDF West Bank Courts refused Tamimi's request for her trial to be public, the deal appeared to indicate a realization that little more public attention would be garnered by holding a trial.
In February, the court said that it was standard procedure for trials for minors like Tamimi to be held out of public view in order to protect their interests as minors, and the court recently confirmed that decision.
Tamimi’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, had criticized the decision saying, “It’s strange that the court decided – after sending Ahed into detention until the end of her trial and after her name has already been publicized – that it is in her interests to conduct the trial far off from public view.”
“While this decision nominally is said to protect Ahed, instead it really tries to protect the court,” she said.
She also pointed out that multiple court hearings relating to Tamimi had already been held with a massive media and diplomatic presence as well as that the video of Tamimi, which is the main subject of the trial, went viral on social media.
Ultimately, the IDF prosecution also did not oppose the trial being open to the public.
In the main December incident in dispute, Tamimi can be seen in the video pushing and kicking two soldiers, though there is no indication she presented any real danger and the soldiers mostly ignored her.
The video evoked polarized reactions, with much of the Israeli camp expressing outrage that she and her cousin were not arrested on the spot, and much of the Palestinian camp cheering her aggressive resistance of what they view as Israeli occupation.
She has sparked such attention that dozens of media outlets in Hebrew, Arabic and English as well as diplomats from several European countries have attended her pretrial hearings, which were standing room only.
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