United NationsThe United Nations Human Rights Commission has criticised a decision by an Israeli court to sentence a Palestinian teenage girl protester to eight months in prison for slapping and kicking Israeli soldiers outside her West Bank home.
In a statement released on Thursday, the commission decried the Israeli practice of detaining Palestinian children, most of them on remand, that is, before or during the trial.
According to international human rights law, the detention of children should only be a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible. In the vast majority of cases, these Palestinian children will have no other reasonable choice but to concede to guilt within the scope of a plea bargain.
Ahed Tamimi, 17, has been detained on remand for three months since her arrest on Dec 19.
Tamimi accepted the sentence as part of a plea bargain following a case which has sparked uproar in the Middle East and attracted international attention.
Tamimi, who was 16 at the time of the offence, has become a Palestinian hero and a symbol of the struggle against Israeli occupation.
According to latest figures, there are over 200 Palestinian children under Israeli detention against all norms of international law. The children are sentenced after they reach 18 years in incarceration.
The teenager told reporters in court there is no justice under occupation and we are in an illegal court.
Her lawyer, Gaby Lasky, said she agreed to the sentence as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that allowed her to avoid more serious charges that could have imprisoned her for years.
Under the deal, she is also being fined the equivalent of about £1,000. Ms Lasky called the legal proceedings a farce. She said they are trying to deter other Palestinian youth from resisting occupation as Ahed did.
The judge agreed to a similar plea deal for Tamimis mother Nariman, who has been charged with incitement.
An Israeli supporter of Tamimi slapped a prosecutor after the ruling and was later arrested by police,a news report said.
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