The teenage Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has said she used her eight months in prison as an opportunity to study international law and hopes to one day lead cases against Israel in international courts.
“God willing, I will manage to study law,” the 17-year-old from Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank told the Guardian a day after her . “I will present the violations against the Palestinians in criminal courts. And to try Israel for it and to be a big lawyer, and to return rights to my country.”
Tamimi, who rose to global prominence as a child living under military occupation, said she and other Palestinians in her all-female prison unit would sit for hours and learn legal texts. “We managed to transform the jail into a school,” she said.
To an outcry from rights groups, the teenager was arrested in December after on camera outside her home. The soldiers had been deployed at one of Nabi Saleh’s weekly protests, where residents have thrown stones at troops who have responded with teargas, arrests and, at times, live ammunition.
She later accepted a deal in court to plead guilty to assault, incitement and two counts of obstructing soldiers.
Palestinian 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi is the latest child victim of Israel’s occupation
“The experience of being arrested was really hard. As much as I try, I cannot describe it,” Ahed said. But she added: “This experience added value to my life, maybe it made me more mature. More conscious.”
Her trial was held behind closed doors. Concerns about her treatment in detention were raised after a video emerged in which a male Israeli interrogator threatened the then 16-year-old, commenting on her body and “eyes of an angel”.
Ahed said her treatment was not unusual. “It was not the first, and it was not a coincidence. This is their style of interrogating,” she said.
Her case has highlighted the arrest and detention of what local human rights groups say are more than 300 Palestinian minors.
Ahed said her experience in jail helped with her ambitions to become an international lawyer. “For example, I was under interrogation. There were violations against me. International law says that this should not happen to me,” she said, adding that in another life she would have trained to be a professional footballer.