There are two major updates being provided. One is an update from one of the Amnesty International staffers from the East Jerusalem office who attended the hearing for Ahed, Nour and Nariman Tamimi which took place today, Tuesday February 13th, 2018. The other update reports that Amnesty International has joined other human rights organizations in condemning the record low number of medical permits given by Israel to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Update 1: This is an update on Ahed, Nour and Nariman’s court hearing that took place today at the Ofer Military Court. The trials opened today with preliminary arguments by the defense that contested the legality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory, and therefore the legal basis of the Military Court’s source of authority. Nearly two months after their arrests, the trials of Ahed, Nariman and Nour Tamimi from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh opened today. In Ahed’s trial, the judge, Lt General Menahem Liberman, has ruled that the trial would be held behind closed doors in order to uphold her right to privacy as a minor. The ruling was given despite an objection by the defense lawyer, who asserted that Ahed waivers this right, as she believes that proceedings held in the public will serve to better protect her from the power of the court. The decision to close the hearing was rendered after the 17 year old was escorted handcuffed into a hall packed with media, supporters and members of the diplomatic community, including the German Head of Mission, Peter Beerwerth.
During the hearing, in a petition to dismiss the case even before trial, the defense made a number of preliminary arguments, among them is the fact that Israeli rule of the Palestinian territory is an illegal occupation, a fact that renders the Military Court’s source of authority invalid. Furthermore, the defense raised the fact that Israeli authorities uphold two separate and unequal systems of law in the West Bank, one for Israeli settlers and another for Palestinians, on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin. It motioned that such conduct amounts to abuse of process, and should in and of itself lead to the acquittal of the defendants.
The lawyer, Gaby Lasky, concluded the court hearing by reminding the court of its obligation under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and cited a UNICEF report, which concluded that “in no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights”.
The next court hearing, in which the defendants are expected to give statements responding to the indictment and enter a plea, will be held on 11 March at the Ofer Military Court.
Update 2: Amnesty International released a joint statement today with Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), and Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI). The joint statement highlights the record-low rate of permits issued by Israel for Palestinians seeking vital medical treatment outside Gaza underlines the urgent need for Israel to end its decade-long closure of the Gaza Strip. The World Health Organization reported that 54 Palestinians, 46 of whom had cancer, died in 2017 following denial or delay of their permits.
Note: You can find the joint statement here: https://www.amnesty.org/