Palestinian teen girl charged with assault in case involving Israeli soldier

Israel indicted a 16-year-old Palestinian girl on Monday in a case involving a widely circulated video that purportedly shows her slapping an Israeli soldier in the face.

Ahed Tamimi, whose mother was also charged, did not have to enter plea related to Dec. 15 incident

Ahed Tamimi, 16, stands for a hearing in the military court at Ofer prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on Monday. Israeli authorities are seeking 12 charges against Ahed after a video purportedly showing her slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank went viral, her lawyer said. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel indicted a 16-year-old Palestinian girl on Monday in a case involving a widely circulated video that purportedly shows her slapping an Israeli soldier in the face.

The charges against Ahed Tamimi, whose dad is a prominent activist, include aggravated assault. She was arrested by the Israeli military three days after she was filmed at the entrance to her family home in a village in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, where weekly protests against Israeli settlement policy have been held for years.

According to reports Monday, Tamimi's mother, Nariman Tamimi, is also facing charges.

The Dec. 15 confrontation took place after what Israel says was a stone-throwing assault on its troops. The case has seen her hailed by supporters of the Palestinian cause as a symbol of resistance. Israeli left-wing newspaper Haaretz said Israel risked turning her into the "Palestinian Joan of Arc."

Right-wing Israelis, meanwhile, have debated whether the soldier had appeared weak by opting not to strike back. The Israeli army said he "acted professionally" by showing restraint.

The charge sheet against Tamimi included counts of aggravated assault against a soldier, who the army said was bruised on his brow, obstructing a soldier in the performance of his duty and throwing stones at troops.

"Tamimi threw stones at them [the soldiers], threatened them, obstructed them in fulfilling their duty, took part in riots and incited others to take part in them," the military alleges on its public affairs Twitter account.

Tamimi's lawyer, Gaby Lasky, said she was certain some of the charges would eventually be dismissed, but nonetheless prosecutors may seek the maximum penalty for other counts.

Protesters hold posters during a Dec. 26 demonstration to show their support for Ahed Tamimi, in front of International Committee of the Red Cross office building in Beirut. (Muhammed Ali Akman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

"I am sure they want to keep her as long as possible because they don't want the voice of resistance outside prison," Lasky told Reuters at the military courtroom in Ofer prison near the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

Tamimi was not asked to enter a plea at this stage. The military court gave her lawyer more time to study the charges.

An adult found guilty of assaulting a soldier could be jailed for up to 10 years, but such an outcome would be unlikely for Tamimi as a minor.

Tamimi's family previously filmed other confrontations with soldiers. Tamimi made news two years ago when she was pictured biting a soldier who tried to arrest her younger brother.

In 2012, she was presented with an award in Turkey and met President Tayyip Erdogan after images of her confronting an Israeli soldier went viral.

With files from CBC News