Ahed and Nariman Tamimi’s detentions extended
26/12/17; Jaclynn Ashly; Israel – The mother-and-daughter duo’s legal fate has attracted global attention
Bethlehem, occupied West Bank – On a day when millions of people around the world spent time with their families, laughing and exchanging gifts, Bassem Tamimi sat for hours in an Israeli court anticipating the fate of his daughter, wife and niece.
For the second time in less than a week, the Tamimi women’s detentions were extended for another four days as the police prosecution continues an investigation into a case that has attracted worldwide attention.
Bassem told Al Jazeera that the court sessions, held in Israel’s Ofer detention centre in Ramallah, went on for more than six hours on Monday. “Ahed looked so tired,” he said, referring to his jailed 16-year-old daughter, and expressed worry concerning her treatment in Israeli jail. Three Israeli officials stood in front of Bassem the entire court proceeding, blocking his view of Ahed.
“I wasn’t even allowed to see her,” he said. Bassem attempted to speak to his daughter, eager to hear her familiar voice that could assure him she was continuing with the strength the teenager is famous for.
However, “any time I tried to speak to her, the Israeli officers would tell me to shut up and would threaten to kick me out of the court”, he explained. “They just want to show us that Israel controls everything.”
Ahed was detained by Israeli forces on Tuesday following a raid on the family’s home in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank during pre-dawn hours.
Hours later, his wife Nariman travelled to the Binyamin detention centre where Ahed was being held in order to check on her condition and insist on her presence during interrogations. She too was arrested upon arrival. Israeli authorities are accusing Nariman of “incitement” for filming the video. Ahed’s 21-year-old cousin Nour, who studies journalism at Al Quds University, was also arrested during a raid on her home the following morning.
An Israeli army spokesperson previously told Al Jazeera that Ahed was suspected of “assaulting a soldier and an IDF officer” in a video showing Ahed slapping and kicking two Israeli officials outside her home.
The video went viral and spurred an Israeli social-media campaign demanding the arrest of the teen, who has remained an icon for the village’s longstanding resistance since she was 13. Nour also appeared in the video later. Following the arrests, Israeli authorities summoned Bassem for interrogations, and questioned him for two hours about the video.
According to Bassem, Ahed and Nour were attempting to push the soldiers away from their home in the video after their 15-year-old cousin Mohammad was struck point-blank in the face with a rubber bullet, which left him in a coma for 72 hours. The Tamimi women have not yet officially been charged with a crime.
According to Gabi Laski, Ahed’s lawyer, the women are also being investigated for other incidents unrelated to the recent video. Laski said the teen is being held in the first section of Israel’s HaSharon prison in Israel, consisting of child “security prisoners”.
No change of clothes
Nariman and Nour are being held together at HaSharon in the third section designated for Palestinian women prisoners, Laski said. Ahed has not been provided a change of clothes since she was detained almost a week ago, Laski told Al Jazeera.
Since her detention, Ahed has also been transferred between several prisons in Israel. According to Laski, such Israeli policies are meant to “break your spirit”. Palestinian detainees are typically handcuffed and their feet are shackled during prison transfers.
The trip between prisons is often uncomfortable and can result in serious physical and emotional exhaustion. These prison transfers occur despite being a violation of international law, which prohibits the transfer of Palestinians from the occupied territory into Israeli territory. Nevertheless, 60 percent of Palestinian child detainees are transferred into Israel from the occupied territory, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer.
Addameer has reported that many Palestinian children are interrogated while “sleep deprived and often bruised and scared”, and called the process “coercive”.
‘Abuse and humiliation’
According to the group, Palestinian children are often “shown, or made to sign, documentation written in Hebrew”, despite most Palestinians in the occupied territory not understanding the language.
Defense for Children International – Palestine noted in a new report that out of 520 cases of Palestinian children being detained by Israel between 2012 and 2016, 72 percent faced physical violence and 66 percent experienced “verbal abuse and humiliation”.
Nour’s father Naji told Al Jazeera that the threats his family has received from Israelis have left him anxious and concerned about Nour’s safety in the prison.
According to Naji, Israelis have demanded that the Tamimi women be held in the “darkest cell” of Israel’s prisons and have expressed their hope that the women “get raped”. “What if some rightwing Israeli is working in the prison, and they actually follow through with these threats?” he said.
In the early morning hours on Monday, as the Tamimi families were resting before another long day at an Israeli court, Israeli forces crept into the village once again and raided Naji’s home.
Manal Tamimi, a relative of the women, told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces broke into Naji’s home and ransacked the place, before raiding two more homes in the village. Izz al-Din and Mutasim Tamimi, both 20-years-old, were detained during the raid.
Both had previously spent time in Israeli prison between five to eight months, according to Manal. Neither of the youths were involved in the case that Ahed, Nariman, and Nour are being held for.
Manal said that for the past two weeks, Israeli forces stationed at the checkpoint positioned at the entrance of Nabi Saleh have been stopping the young residents of the village and interrogating them for hours.
“This has nothing to do with anyone breaking the law. This is just harassment and collective punishment on the village,” she said. Bassem agrees, telling Al Jazeera that the “Israel wants to show the world that they have a trial, a court, and a legal system. They want people to believe they have laws and a democracy,” Bassem said.
Bassem said that the village did not see Israel’s courts as “legitimate”. “It’s all fake. The courts are just another component of the occupation. There’s no difference between this court and an Israeli settlement,” he told Al Jazeera. “They are targeting us because we are Palestinian and we resist Israeli occupation and its colonization of Palestinian lands. They want to break Nabi Saleh.”
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