Israel releases Palestinian teen protester from prison

Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian campaigner against Israel's occupation, is joyful after arriving in her village, Nabi Salih, near the West Bank town of Ramallah, on Sunday after serving nearly eight months in prison. EPA photo by Alla Badarneh

July 29 (UPI) — Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teen activist, was released Sunday morning from a central Israel prison, nearly eight months after she slapped and hit Israeli soldiers.

She was released the HaSharon prison to a West Bank border crossing with her mother Nariman, who was sentenced at the same time.

While being welcomed later in her village of Nabi Saleh, the teen broke down in tears.

Tamimi told the crowd she was “extremely happy” to be “in the arms and embrace of my family.”

“My happiness is not complete without my sisters [Palestinian female prisoners], who are not with me. I hope that they will also be free,” she said.

Last December, Tamimi and her mother were arrested by Israeli forces after a video showed the young woman, then 16, hitting and slapping two armed Israeli soldiers outside her home. Nariman filmed the incident.

Her 15-year-old cousin Mohammed had been shot in the face by Israeli forces with a rubber-coated steel bullet earlier in the day. Mohammed, who is still healing from his injuries, has been detained by Israeli forces twice since Israeli forces him in the face.

Two weeks after her arrest, Tamimi was indicted on 12 charges in Israel’s Ofer military court in Ramallah. In March, Tamimi and her mother accepted plea deals to serve eight months in prison, including time served, in exchange for pleading guilty to some of the charges.

Her father, Bassem said he was worried about the safety of his daughter after her release, noting that she had been threatened by right-wing Israeli politicians and settlers.

She then traveled to Ramallah, where she met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential headquarters, according to official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Tamimi plans to pursue a career in law.

“In the end I want to say that the power is with the people, and the people will and can decide their destiny and decide the future,” she said. “Women are a key part of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, and the women’s role will continue to expand, not only in the struggle but by producing new generations that can continue the struggle. We say: ‘Leave, leave occupation.’ ”

Tamimi’s aunt, Manal, a prominent activist in the village, has two sons in Israeli custoy,

Yousef Jabareen, a member of the Knesset, was pleased with her release.

“Her arrest in the first place was arbitrary and vengeful,” he said Al Jazeera. “For eight months she was taken from her life for a legitimate act of expressing a brave stance against the occupation. Her imprisonment is meant to humiliate her and break her spirit, but she is now a heroine and a victor.

“Israel must understand that it is impossible to suppress a just popular protest and that its actions only strengthen those who oppose the occupation. The time has come to stop the military control of Tamimi and her generation, and to end the occupation.”


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