Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who was jailed for slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers, has been released after eight months in prison.
Tamimi was just 16 years old when she was arrested in December for hitting two Israeli soldiers, who had wounded her 15-year-old cousin, shooting him in the head with rubber bullets.
The video, filmed by her mum, of the young women showing the frustration, pain and anger felt by herself and the people around her at the political disruption in her country was so powerful, it went viral almost instantly.
But although her brave actions made her a symbol of resistance and inspired people around the world, they also caused her to be sentenced to eight months in prison over charges of assault, incitement, interference with soldiers and stone throwing.
Now, finally, the teenager (who turned 17 in custody) has been released back to her family, and has been met with a celebration by the whole community.
Yesterday (29 July), the people of Tamimi’s hometown waved banners, posters and Palestinian flags as she returned to her home of Nabi Saleh.
In a defiant, rousing speech Tamimi talked about how her experiences in prison have shaped her and, incredibly, tried to take as many positives from her time there as she could, saying: “The prison taught me to be patient, to work in a group and to always love life. Because in jail you feel even the simplest things are valuable. You value even a needle because you know it’s not always available.”
She continued, recounting some of the most difficult moments of her imprisonment: “I was subjected to many violations during the interrogation. First the interrogator used bad words. Also I had the right to have a female solider during the interrogation, but I never got that. In the three interrogation sessions, instead of one interrogator there were two. They interrogated me for long hours.”
“I missed going out with my friends. I missed sitting in my room I missed seeing the sky, the stars, the moon. I missed doing lots of things while in prison. The prison is very tough, it gets you to think as if your life was just a dream and you woke up to this reality,” she finished.
After greeting the crowds, she visited the grave of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.
So far, Tamimi hasn’t expressed if her future plans involve politics or being part of a resistance. But The Independent reports that her father, Bassem Tamini, expects that they will - although she needs to look at her college options first.