Israel holds US boy without charge after police nearly beat him to death
July 5 2014
Fifteen-year-old Palestinian-American Tariq Abukhdeir, cousin of recent lynching victim Muhammed Abu Khudair, was brutally beaten by masked Israeli police on Thursday evening in the Shuafat neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. He has since been arrested and held without charge and denied medical treatment, according to his family and the rights group Addameer.
Tariq’s family lives in Tampa, Florida and have been on vacation in Palestine since early June. They are scheduled to return to the United States on 16 July. Tariq’s next court hearing is scheduled for Sunday, 6 July.
As photos of Tariq’s horrific facial bruises surfaced, so did two videos that show masked Israeli officers punching, kicking and dragging a handcuffed Palestinian in Shuafat:
Salahedeen Khdeir, Tariq’s father, told The Electronic Intifada by phone from Shuafat that the Palestinian in the video is his son Tariq and that the footage was recorded by neighbors who then released it to a Palestinian media outlet.
Salahedeen says Tariq was visiting his uncle’s house in an area devoid of clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians when he and five other youths were attacked in the yard by two masked Israeli police agents.
Tariq was roughed up the worst, beaten so badly that he lost consciousness. But that didn’t stop the Israeli forces from arresting Tariq and the others without charge and preventing Tariq from receiving medical treatment for five hours.
“Tariq was arrested at 7:35pm but wasn’t transferred to the hospital until around 1:30am,” said Salahedeen. During those five hours his parents were prevented from seeing him as well.
At the police station, Salahedeen came face to face with his son’s attackers, who called Tariq “a tough boy” and claimed he tried to attack them.
Tariq’s parents did not see him again until Friday in an Israeli court where the judge extended his imprisonment another 48 hours as requested by the Israeli police, who argued they still needed to question him.
The officers told the judge that Tariq and his cousins were throwing stones, an accusation Tariq and his family vehemently deny. When asked if they had any witnesses to the alleged stone-throwing, the officers said no, Salahedeen recounted.
When Salahedeen showed the video of Tariq’s beating to the judge, he said, she was appalled and asked the officers why they beat a boy who was handcuffed. She also asked why Palestinian youths arrested for throwing stones appear in court with bruises while Israeli Jewish youths arrested for throwing stones appear unharmed.
The officers responded, “When we tell the Jewish kids to stop throwing stones, they stop and let us lock them up. But the Palestinians kids want to fight,” recounted Salahedeen.
“Tariq is scared,” said his father, adding that his son speaks very little Arabic and no Hebrew, making an already nightmarish ordeal even more terrifying for the 15-year-old.
Salahedeen begged the judge to let him stay with Tariq in jail so he so he could check his son’s urine for blood each time he uses the bathroom, as advised by the doctor who treated the boy. This has led his family to fear that he may have internal bleeding. The judge denied Salahedeen’s request, promising that she would personally notify the jail to look after Tariq.