The trial of Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager turned protest symbol who hit Israeli soldiers in a viral video, began behind closed doors on Tuesday in a military court in the West Bank.
Her trial, which will likely take months, has sparked immense public interest as well as some international condemnation of the minor’s imprisonment.
Seventeen-year-old Tamimi faces 12 charges, including assault and incitement, at the Ofer Military Court. The charges stem from multiple confrontations – including the viral video – with soldiers spanning back to April 2016.
“We believe that this is an indictment solely created in order to deter Ahed and other Palestinian youth to resist occupation the way she has done,” Tamimi’s lawyer Gaby Lasky told reporters after the hearing.
The judge decided to hold the hearing behind closed doors despite protests from the Tamimi family who say media attention is essential to ensure a fair trial.
Palestinians see Tamimi as a hero who opposes Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, while Israel says she is an agitator who attempts to provoke soldiers on film as part of a Palestinian PR campaign.
Lasky presented Tamimi’s preliminary arguments during the hearing, which includes questioning the legality of the court itself.