Cousin of Ahed Tamimi Arrested, Held for Two Days Without Explanation

16-year-old Mohammed Tamimi, who suffered a head injury, was detained by Israeli forces without being questioned

Mohammed Tamimi in his home, January 2, 2018.
Meged Gozani

Security forces arrested on Friday 16-year old Mohammed Tamimi, cousin of Palestinian icon Ahed Tamimi, detaining him for two full days without explanation.

Tamimi, who in the past had suffered a head injury - after being shot by Israeli forces - was interrogated immediately after his arrest on Friday morning and then held at Ofer Prison for two days.

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After his unexplained detention, security forces released him to his home without bringing him before a judge and without requesting any limitations on his freedom.

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Mohammed Tamimi was arrested in a nighttime operation at about 2 A.M. Friday. Forces raided his Nabi Saleh home in the central West Bank and took Tamimi to a Modi'in Ilit police station.

He was questioned under suspicion of "popular terror," a military term for stone throwing. After questioning, he was taken to Ofer Prison, where he remained through Saturday.

Tamimi was told that on Sunday, the military intends to request that the military court at Ofer extend his remand. The military court can detain a Palestinian suspect for two days without bringing them before a judge, unlike Israeli law, which applies to Israeli citizens.

Despite this, police told the Tamimi family that Mohammed was cleared of suspicion and released. According to those close to him, he did not undergo a second interrogation and it is still unclear what had changed between his arrest on Friday morning, the decision to detain him over the weekend and his release to his village.

The 16-year-old Tamimi suffered a head injury that left his skull disfigured and his head scarred. According to the Israeli army, his wounds were caused by a bicycle accident. His family presented CT scans in February 2018 that show that he was injured by a rubber bullet.

The army bases its claims off of a 2018 investigation in which Tamimi said his wounds were caused when the handle of his bicycle hit his head. His family claims that he only said this under the pressure of the interrogation.   

The IDF refused to comment and instead referred to the police, despite the fact that Tamimi was arrested by the military, was detained mainly at a military site and is under the jurisdiction of the military legal system, which is operated by military prosecutors and military courts. The police confirmed that Tamimi remained in detention over the weekend and claimed that it was justified by the interrogation, but emphasized that there was no significant evidence against him.

In a statement, the police said, "Under the validity of the task in accordance with the law, the police constantly act with security forces against rioters and stone throwers whoever they may be and anyone involved in these events. Accordingly, the suspect was arrested for questioning on suspicion of involvement in riots and stone throwing that took place over past months.

"Over the course of his interrogation, the police undertook other required investigative actions in order to arrive at the truth, at the same time as clarifications of irregularities that came up in his testimony that opposed the evidence. With the conclusion of the required investigative activities, and without proof of his involvement at the required level to continue the criminal process, it was decided to release him from detention. Israel Police will continue to thoroughly investigate violent riots and all attempts to harm security forces and innocent civilians."