The 17-year-old Palestinian girl who attracted international attention after slapping and kicking a pair of Israeli soldiers outside her West Bank home was today sentenced to eight months in prison.
Ahed Tamimi’s Israeli lawyer, Gaby Lasky, told Associated Press that her client agreed to the sentence as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
Under the deal, she is due to be released in the summer. She is also being fined the equivalent of about $1,400.
Lasky told AP that the legal proceedings were a “farce.” She said “they are trying to deter other Palestinian youth from resisting occupation as Ahed did.”
Tamimi was arrested in December after video surfaced of her kicking the soldiers outside her West Bank home. While some praised the soldiers for showing restraint, hard-line politicians criticized what they felt was a weak response and called for tough action against the girl, whose family has a long history of run-ins with the Israelis.
Following her latest arrest, images of the girl became popular on posters in the West Bank. Some 1.7 million people worldwide have signed a petition calling for her release.
The case has drawn attention to Israel’s military court system, which is used to try Palestinians in the West Bank. Israeli West Bank settlers, on the other hand, are tried under Israeli civilian courts.
AP report how the dueling justice systems have drawn criticism from international rights groups. The military courts have a near 100 percent conviction rate, in part because so many Palestinians agree to plea bargains.
Critics say the system gives Palestinians few rights, and they are often coerced into plea deals. Hundreds of Palestinian minors are processed by the military court system each year.
“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,” said Human Rights Watch Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson.
- Digital Desk