The Israel Police investigations department filed an indictment on Wednesday against a border policeman who was allegedly caught on camera beating US-Palestinian citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, three days after his cousin, Muhammed Abu Khdeir, was killed in an alleged revenge attack in Jerusalem.
The indictment accused the officer of assault against a minor, and was filed with the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.
The Justice Ministry said a police investigation concluded that “evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes.” It did not name the officer charged, nor did it say what charges the officer would face.
On July 5, Abu Khdeir was arrested in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat during clashes between stone-throwers and Israeli riot police. The teenager, who lives in Florida, maintained that he was not involved in the protests and was trying to run away from the violence when he was chased by three members of Israeli security forces, who caught and attacked him.
Police asserted, however, that Tariq Abu Khdeir resisted arrest, attacked officers and was carrying a slingshot for lobbing stones when he was arrested.
The US State Department said in response that it was “profoundly troubled” by reports of his beating and demanded an investigation.
Police launched an official investigation into the incident after a video surfaced purportedly showing the beating, and was widely circulated online.
Faced with considerable US pressure, Israeli authorities released Abu Khdeir three days after he was arrested, and pictures showed him with his face swollen and heavily bruised.
In an interview with AP, Abu Khdeir said that 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, he added.
After another cousin of the slain East Jerusalem teenager was arrested on July 28, also a US citizen, the State Department accused Israel of “singling out” his relatives.
Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the US was “concerned that the US consulate general in Jerusalem was not notified of his arrest by the government of Israel.”
And “we are also concerned about the fact that members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities,” Harf added.
Muhammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was snatched from his East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat on July 2, and was found burned to death in the Jerusalem Forest hours later. Three Jewish suspects were arrested in connection to the attack, and confessed that they had carried out the attack in retaliation of the June 12 abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers.
News agencies contributed this report.
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