Mly trial of Palestinian teen opens behind closed doors

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Only family members were allowed to remain in the courtroom. The Israeli military judge overseeing the trial of Palestinian teenager Tamimi has ordered all proceedings to take place behind closed doors.

A group of 27 prominent USA writers, activists, musicians and Hollywood actors also signed a petition calling for the teenager's release on Monday.

Ahed Tamimi, 17, arrived in Ofer military court on Tuesday morning. He further reflected on his sister, who died after one of his remand hearings in the 1990s, "My sister died in one of these courts, we need the people and the media inside with us". Her next court date is on March 11.

Outside court, Tamimi's lawyer Gaby Lasky said her family wanted the case to be heard in public.

Closed-door proceedings were held for a couple hours before adjourning. She was denied bail at her hearing last month, with the prosecution arguing that she was risky and posed a risk of absconding.

Even though the hearing will now be held in secret, unless her lawyer successfully manages to petition for it to be opened, rights groups say they hope the trial will shed light on Israel's treatment of minors.

Israelis accuse her family of using her as a pawn in staged provocations. She was arrested, and now faces charges of aggravated assault, obstructing the work of soldiers, and incitement.

On 1 January 2018, Tamimi was charged with a number of offences under Israeli military law, some stemming from the 15 December incident, and others dating back to April 2016.

Ahed and her family reside in West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, which has over the years seen continuous conflict between anti-occupation protestors and a nearby Israeli settlement.

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The UN experts called for her release, saying that future hearings should be held in strict accordance with worldwide legal standards.

There were 352 Palestinian children held in Israeli prisons as security detainees at the end of a year ago, according to B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.

Human rights groups have protested the minor's imprisonment and demanded she be released for the period of her trial. In one, taken when she was 12, she is raising a clenched fist at a soldier who towers over her.

"As an unarmed girl, Ahed posed no threat during the altercation with the two Israeli soldiers who were heavily armed and wearing protective clothing", Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director for Amnesty International's Middle East and Africa program, said in a statement Monday. Israeli authorities are seeking 12 charges against Ahed after a video of her slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank went viral, her lawyer said. In it, the soldiers don't appear to react to Tamimi's confrontation. They then move backwards after Nariman Tamimi becomes involved.

Some commentators claim that what is disproportionate is the global attention devoted to the incident, even suggesting that it was a cynical ploy meant to distract world public opinion due to the failure of Hamas to deliver on its call for a third intifada in response to Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and so move the U.S. Embassy.

Mohammed Tamimi, a cousin of Ahed, was seriously wounded by a rubber bullet fired at his head during those protests.

Israel has made multiple incursions into Jenin in recent weeks, including a clash during a manhunt for the murderer of Rabbi Raziel Shevah, who was killed in a drive-by shooting attack in December.

Ahed Tamimi, 17, appeared fresh and confident as she entered the packed courtroom.