A Palestinian-American teenager whose beating by Israeli police over the summer sparked an international outcry was cleared of all charges by an Israeli court Tuesday.
The US State Department confirmed to the Council on American-Islamic relations that all charges against 15-year-old Florida resident Tariq Abu Khdeir for his alleged participation in a July riot had been dropped, according to Tampa television station WFLA.
Abu Khdeir was visiting family in Jerusalem last July when his cousin Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned to death by Jewish extremists. The murder, in retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens a month before, sparked weeks of rioting in the capital.
During the clashes between stone-throwers and Israeli security forces in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, the teen was arrested and badly beaten by three Israeli border policemen, in an incident caught on tape.
While police asserted that Abu Khdeir was armed with a slingshot and was actively participating in the riot, he and his family denied direct involvement. The teen was placed under house arrest for nine days before being allowed to return home to the US.
Abu Khdeir’s beating was caught on video, and the footage quickly drew sharp international condemnation, including from Washington.
Following an internal police investigation in September, one of the officers involved in the incident was criminally charged with assaulting a minor. According to the indictment, the Justice Ministry said the investigation concluded that “evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes.”
The indictment did not name the officer charged, and the status of the charges against the officer remain unclear.