herald

Monday 23 October 2017

I was tied up and beaten like it was no problem, recalls boy (15)

A teenager left with stitches and bruises from his detention by Israeli security forces said he was beaten, kicked and blindfolded on a trip to the Middle East after his cousin was abducted and killed.

But despite his terrifying ordeal, Palestinian-American Tariq Abu Khdeir (15), who flew home to Florida last week, said he hoped he could visit the region again and "come back safe".

Israeli authorities released Tariq, pictured here arriving home in America, three days after he was detained while they investigated what they said were violent protests over the death of his cousin Mohammed Abu Khdeir (16).

Tariq said he did not take part in rock-throwing disturbances shortly before he was picked up.

He said he was just watching when Israeli forces began shooting rubber bullets and tear gas into a crowd that had formed.

The teenager said in the first moments of being picked up, he was slammed down. During the ordeal, he said, he was kicked in several parts of his body and blindfolded.

At the time, the family was on a trip that was expected to last about six weeks. Tariq said he and Mohammed had struck up a quick friendship, visiting sacred sites.

Mohammed was killed on the fifth week of the visit, Tariq said. He said he had gone to a bakery for about five minutes on the day Mohammed disappeared, returning to find him gone.

After Mohammed was found dead, a crowd filled with family members formed and started screaming at the police.

Tariq said he was slammed down head first when he was detained. He added that his hands were tied behind his back and he was kicked in the face, stomach and ribs and was unconscious for a time. He was taken to jail where he was blindfolded and still handcuffed, he added.

"They beat on me like there was no problem," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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