BHRC has released its hearing observation report on the opening of the trial of 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, her mother Nariman Tamimi and Ahed’s cousin, Nour co-Vice Chair Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh.

Ahed, Nariman and Nour Tamimi are all facing charges relating to an incident on 15 December 2017, the recording of which went viral after being uploaded onto the internet. The video showed an altercation between the women and a number of heavily armed Israeli soldiers. The video showed, in particular, Ahed being pushed by an Israeli soldier, and her hitting and kicking him.

The incident occurred in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, outside Nariman and Ahed’s house. The village is home to approximately 600 people.Its Palestinian population is subject to a system of Israeli military law, infringements of which are prosecuted in one of two military courts, one situated in Ofer, near Jerusalem, and the other in Salem, in the Northern West Bank, near Jenin. It is estimated that approximately 800,000 Palestinians have been prosecuted in the Israeli military courts since the occupation began, including between 500-700 Palestinian children prosecuted each year.

The courts are presided over by Israeli military judges, who judge cases of Palestinian defendants prosecuted by Israeli military prosecutors.  Proceedings take place in Hebrew, a language most Palestinians do not understand. An Arabic-speaking Israeli soldier, typically a member of the Druze minority within Israel, provides some interpretation services in court.

Ahed has been charged with 12 offences, dating from April 2016, including the incident on 15 December 2017. They include aggravated assault of an Israeli soldier, assaulting an Israeli soldier, disturbing an Israeli soldier in the execution of his duty, threatening an Israeli soldier, throwing stones, and incitement.  The charge of stone throwing alone carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment. Nour and Nariman face similar charges. Nariman in particular faces charges of criminal incitement relating to her filming of the incident on 15 December 2017 and publishing it on social media.

In the report,  Ní Ghrálaigh raised concern  for the ongoing detention of Ahed, a minor, and the detention of Ahed and Nour in Israel, rather than in the West Bank, in grave violation of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. There is also continued concern about the impartiality and independence of the military tribunal.

“While the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention allow for the establishment by the occupier of military courts of occupation to prosecute certain crimes, real concerns arise regarding the lack of independence and bias – whether actual or perceived – of Israeli soldiers sitting as judges in proceedings against Palestinian civilians charged with having committed acts against Israeli soldiers such as those charged against the defendants in these cases.”

Ahed and Nariman have been remanded in custody until those hearings. The Court previously ruled that they are to be refused bail and detained until the end of the proceedings in their respective cases. They are both being detained within Israel. Nour has been released on bail.

Nour and Nariman’s trials were adjourned until 6 March 2018. Ahed’s has been adjourned until 11 March 2018. BHRC continues to monitor developments.

You can read the entire report here.