Free Ahed Tamimi and all Child Prisoners Campaign Launch on the 31st of January 2018, 6.30 pm, at the Women’s Jail, Constitutional Hill

Ahed Tamimi is a 16 year old Palestinian girl who was arrested after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier went viral. The slap was in response to a group of Israeli soldiers attempting to forcibly enter her home, allegedly to use her house as a vantage point for intimidating other Palestinian children in the area with gunfire. Soldiers had entered the village of Nabi Saleh and had been shooting rubber bullets, sound-bombs and teargas canisters that had shattered several windows in her home. Ahed’s 14 year old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi had minutes before, been shot in the face with a rubbercoated metal bullet at close range that penetrated his skull. Ahed was arrested three days after the “slap incident” in a pre-dawn raid on her home on 19 December 2017, has been denied bail and remains in detention.

Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. In the West Bank, there are two separate legal systems in the same territory. No Israeli settler child comes into contact with the military court system. Palestinian children however are subjected to various forms of torture and cruel treatment, such as blindfolding, sleep deprivation and physical violence in the form of handcuffing, beating, starving, swearing and insults, threatening to arrest or hurt their family members, immense psychological pressure is exerted to extract confessions and to sign paperwork in Hebrew, a language they don’t understand.
Amnesty International confirms that children are routinely subjected to prolonged interrogation with no access to lawyers or while in solitary confinement.

As South Africans, the brutality of Apartheid resides in our not so distant past. For the Palestinians, this brutality and injustice is their daily reality. Palestinian children should not be detained or prosecuted under the jurisdiction of military courts. However, as a minimum safeguard, while Palestinians continue to be subjected to the dictates of military occupation, Israeli authorities must respect and ensure basic due process rights and immediately prohibit torture and ill-treatment. From the moment of arrest, operations and procedures must be carried out in accordance with international juvenile justice standards, specifically the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including:

• Detention must only be used as a last resort, and only for the shortest appropriate time;
• Children must not be subjected to physical or psychological violence;
• Children must have access to legal consultation and parents prior to and during interrogations;
• Children must only be arrested during daylight hours;
• Children must be properly informed of their right to silence;

• Children must not be blindfolded or painfully restrained;
• Children must not be subjected to coercive force or threats; All interrogations must be audio-visually recorded;

• Any incriminating evidence obtained during interrogation where a child was not properly and effectively informed of his or her right to silence must be excluded by the military courts;
• Any statement made as a result of torture or ill-treatment must be excluded as evidence in any proceeding;
• The practice of using solitary confinement on children in Israeli military detention, whether in pre-trial detention for interrogation purposes or as a form of punishment, must be stopped immediately and the prohibition must be enshrined in law;
• The practice of using administrative detention orders against Palestinian children must stop immediately and the prohibition must be enshrined in law;
• All credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be thoroughly and impartially investigated in accordance with international standards, and perpetrators brought promptly to justice; and
• Children must not be transferred out of the West Bank in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Please join the launch of the Free Ahed and all Child Prisoners Exhibition at Constitution Hill, which will run through to Human Rights Day, in honour of all child prisoners. The launch will take place at 18:30 for 19:00, and will start with spoken statements from representatives from the campaign, video statements by Bassem Tamimi and Janna Jihad, and a recounting of experiences by ex-prisoners of the Women’s Jail. Catering will be provided and there will be a station where people will be able to send messages to Ahed Tamimi.
The campaign is supported by the following organisations:

• Shamsaan
• Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA)
• Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)
• Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF)
• Girl Rising Wits
• Amnesty International Wits
• South African Jews For a Free Palestine
• Refugee Social Services
• Muslim Judicial Council (MJC)

• MSA Union
• Palestine Museum
• Potchefstroom Muslim Congregation
• Al Qaaf Human Rights Centre
• PSC Wits
• North Beach Women’s Volunteers
• UKZN Theology and Development Programme
• PMB-4-Palestine action group
• Kairos Palestine Study Group, South Africa
• Caring Sister network
• Runners for the Freedom of Palestine
• North Beach Women’s Volunteers
• Kromboom Bridge Brigade
• Centre for Fine Art, Animation, and Design (CFAD)
• South African Union of Students (SAUS)
• Aspire
• Cap Recording Studio
• Taalimun Nisa Association
• Palestine Solidarity Forum UCT (PSF)
• Tricontinental Film Festival
• Palestine Festival South Africa
• Artists United Against Corruption KZN
• Union of Arab Community SA (UACSA)
• Caring Women’s Forum
• Young Communist League of South Africa Gauteng Province
• Media Review Network (MRN)
• Transform RSA
• Equal Education (EE)

Please see images below of:
Ahed Tamimi in court with military officials, credit: Abir Sultan, EPA.

Ahed Tamimi with father, Bassem, and Cyril Ramaphosa, credit: Shamsaan, Pals4Peace Tour in July 2017, taken during an event launched by Cyril Ramaphosa, as part of a national programme by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation paying tribute the life and legacy of Ahmed Kathrada.

For more information, please contact:
Irfan 071 507 0301
Muaaza 083 296 4747