Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenage girl who gained international fame for slapping Israeli soldiers, has been released from prison after serving an eight-month sentence.
Tamimi, 17, was arrested last December after a video went viral showing her slapping and shoving two Israeli soldiers during a raid on the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, northwest of the city of Ramallah.
She was charged with a total of 12 counts, including assault, incitement and obstructing Israeli soldiers as well as stone-throwing.
In March, she reached a plea bargain with Israeli military prosecution, according to which she was sentenced to eight months in prison and fined $1,500.
Tamimi’s mother, Nariman, who had also been arrested over the same incident, was similarly sentenced to eight months in jail.
Arriving at Nabi Saleh village, Tamimi made brief remarks to well-wishers outside the home of a villager killed by Israeli forces.
“From this martyr’s house, I say: resistance is continuing until the occupation is removed,” she said, wearing her trademark black-and-white chequered Arab scarf.
“All the female prisoners in jail are strong, and I thank everyone who stood by me while I was in prison,” she added.
The teenage protest icon was expected to address a news conference at 4 p.m. (1300 GMT).
Tamimi has been hailed as a heroine by many Palestinians for bravely standing up to the Israeli military aggression and recognized as a symbol of the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation.
“Tamimi’s long detention stemmed from political motives rather than from legal reasons,” Tamimi’s lawyer Gaby Lasky said on Thursday.
“Legal proceedings are not intended to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and instead of sending minors to prison for resisting the occupation, the time has come for a courageous leadership to free us all from the chains of the occupation.”
According to latest figures provided by the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, some 5,900 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, many of them in administrative detention.
The detention is a form of imprisonment without charge or trial that allows the regime to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months – and subject to indefinite extensions.