Feb. 13 (UPI) — The closed-door trial for a Palestinian teenager caught on film slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers began Tuesday morning.
Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old girl, arrived in court to face 12 charges including assaulting security forces, incitement and throwing stones.
The judge in the case ousted from the courtroom all journalists who had gathered at Ofer Military Base despite the request of Tamimi’s lawyer for the press to observe the trial.
“The court decided to close the doors because they think that it’s not good for Ahed. But what I think is that the court doesn’t think it’s good for the court,” Gaby Laski, Tamimi’s lawyer, told reporters.
The teenager, just 16 at the time of the incident, was arrested in December after a video of her assaulting two soldiers outside of her home surfaced online and went viral. Her mother was also arrested for reportedly uploading the video online.
The video was recorded after Tamimi found out Israeli Defense Forces shot her cousin in the face with a rubber bullet, giving the boy severe wounds.
International organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have rallied around Tamimi and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented her with a “courage” award in 2012 after a similar run-in with the Israeli military.
“As an unarmed girl, Ahed posed no threat during the altercation with the two Israeli soldiers who were heavily armed and wearing protective clothing,” Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director for Amnesty International’s Middle East and Africa program, said in a statement Monday.
Israeli officials argue Tamimi’s family has long exploited the girl to provoke IDF soldiers.
Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Tamimi and her mother deserved to “finish their lives in prison.”
The hearing Tuesday lasted two hours and her next session will be March 11. Her mother’s hearing is set for March 6.
Ahed and her mother have been held in Israel’s HaSharon prison for almost two months.