An Israeli military court has refused to cancel the preventive detention of teenage Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, who became an international icon after a video of her confronting heavily armed Israeli soldiers outside her home went viral.
Ahed Tamimi was arrested after being filmed confronting an Israeli officer and a soldier outside her home in a village in the occupied West Bank on Dec. 15. The altercation took place the day after Tamimi's 15-year-old cousin was hit in the head by a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier.
A video of the encounter shows Tamimi slapping an officer and punching a soldier next to him in the face. Both men, who were also kicked by the teenager, wore helmets and combat gear and tried to deflect her blows, but remained largely passive.
The soldiers had been deployed during a weekly Palestinian protest in the village against Israeli policy on settlements in the West Bank.
Charges filed on Jan. 1 against Tamimi include aggravated assault, rock-throwing, incitement and participation in "violent riots." She is facing up to 12 years in prison. No plea was entered at the hearing.
Tamimi's lawyer Gaby Lasky argued that continued detention would violate Tamimi's rights as a minor and suggested the teenager would pose a danger if released on bail.
"They decided the trial will begin on the 31st of January, but although she is only 16 years old, the court believes that her indictment is enough to keep her in detention until the end of the trial," the attorney told reporters.
Calling for Tamimi's immediate release, Amnesty International said on Monday that nothing Tamimi had done to the armed soldiers wearing protective gear "can justify the continuing detention of a 16-year-old girl."
Tamimi, whose father is a prominent Palestinian activist, first made headlines two years ago when she was pictured biting a soldier who was trying to arrest her younger brother.
The Israeli occupation has been actively persecuting the Tamimis for decades over their weekly protests against the theft of their lands in favor of the illegal Jewish settlement of Halamish near their villages.