A Tampa, Florida boy who was visiting relatives in Jerusalem when he was grabbed by undercover Israeli officers and badly beaten in the face and head received a visit from U.S. officials Saturday, in advance of his court hearing Sunday.Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was burned to death on Wednesday morning, apparently by the same group of Israelis who were seen forcing him into a car outside a mosque in Shu’fat, East Jerusalem just before 4 am on Wednesday. Despite video footage of the abduction, and the license plate number having been captured by eyewitnesses, the Israeli police have failed to identify or detain the killers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
The day after his cousin’s murder, 15-year old Tariq was grabbed by undercover Israeli forces in Shu’fat, where protests had broken out calling for justice for Mohammed. A witness in a nearby apartment building captured video footage of the attack, which shows three men holding and repeatedly beating a prone Palestinian with their fists and other objects.
He was then carried into a police van and taken into custody with dozens of other Palestinians who had been swept up in the police crackdown on the protests. Police denied him medical treatment for over five hours, despite his badly-swollen head and broken nose.
Representative of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem confirmed that officials had visited Tariq, who is still in Israeli custody, on Saturday, and issued a statement that “We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody, and strongly condemn any excessive use of force.”
U.S. officials rarely intervene in cases involving Palestinians detained or brutalized by Israeli forces, even when those detained are U.S. citizens. In this case, however, with extensive family connections across the U.S., the Abu Khdeir family have pressured U.S. officials to take action – particularly since the family has already suffered the loss of 16-year old Mohammed, who was burned to death, presumably by Israeli settlers, on Wednesday.
The Palestinian Prisoner Rights group Addameer also took up the case of Tariq Abu Khdeir, stating, “No charges or accusations have been brought against Tarek, yet his despite his young age and unlawful treatment, his detention has been extended until the morning of Sunday 6 July in the Court of First Instances in Jerusalem.
“Tarek is one of 11 Palestinians who were beaten and arrested in Shofat last night following the brutal murder of 16-year old child Mohammad Abu Khdeir, who was found beaten and burned on the ruins of Palestinian destroyed village Deir Yassin hours after he was kidnapped in a retribution act. The Israeli government has instated a gag-order regarding the circumstances of Mohammad’s kidnapping and murder.
“The continued state-sanctioned violence against children is unlawful and unacceptable.
“Addameer urges immediate action and calls on the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United States consulate and all regional embassies and consulates, human rights organizations and journalists to attend Tarek Abu Khdeir’s hearing on Sunday 6 July to investigate the intensified aggression against Palestinian children.”
15-year-old Cousin of Murdered Teen Beaten by Police in Shu’fat
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 11:34:02
A Palestinian teenager identified by local sources as the cousin of the 16-year-old who was murdered on Wednesday was beaten and abducted by Israeli police on Thursday, and was refused medical treatment for his broken nose and other injuries while in custody.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has reported that over 170 Palestinians have been injured since Monday, when the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who had gone missing two weeks earlier were found.
15-year old Tariq was allegedly participating in one of several protests that took place in Shu’fat and nearby areas after Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, was abducted by Israelis, according to eyewitnesses, and later found burned to death on Wednesday.
Hundreds of Palestinians took part in the protests, which were met with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and concussion grenades. At least three incidents have been reported of Israeli police and military using live ammunition against the demonstrators. Of the 170 injured since Monday, at least six are journalists.
Since his death Wednesday, the family of Muhammed Abu Khdeir has faced interrogations, DNA tests and a misinformation campaign started by the Israeli police to claim, based on no evidence, that the boy was killed in a family dispute — in addition to the Israeli police refusing to look at surveillance video showing the assailants, which would normally be a major part of an investigation.
The attack on the 15-year-old appears to be the latest affront to a family that is mourning the brutal death of a child. Tariq is a Palestinian-American who was staying with family in Jerusalem when he was beaten and abducted by Israeli police. The full extent of his injuries is still unknown.