Thursday, 22 January 2015

Tampa teenager brutally beaten by Israeli police interviewed by UN investigators

The following is being issued by CAIR-Florida:

Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Tampa teenager brutally beaten by Israeli police last summer in Jerusalem, was interviewed by Skype this morning from his Tampa home by officials with the Geneva-based United Nations Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza Conflict.

The Florida Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL), which arranged the interview, views the development as a significant step toward identifying gross violations of civil rights and human rights by Israeli police and military personnel that CAIR-Florida believes were flagrant during last summer's hostilities.

Under an agreement with the Commission, Tariq was alone taking questions from officials in Geneva, and the questions, answers and initial findings of his 30-minute interview will be kept confidential until the inquiry is complete.

"This investigation is a clear signal that the United Nations itself has serious concerns about the bad conduct of Israeli police and military personnel during the violence in Gaza, and particularly the brutal beating and unlawful confinement suffered by this Tampa teenager," declared Hassan Shibly, Chief Executive Director of CAIR-Florida. "We welcome the investigation as another chapter in this tragic case, and will cooperate fully as the United Nations seeks to identify all wrongdoing and bring those responsible to justice."

Daniela Baro, Child Protection Advisor with the Commission, explained that the Commission of Inquiry is looking into allegations of arbitrary arrests and detention that occurred in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from June to the end of August 2014.

"The Commission is particularly interested in cases of arrests and ill treatment of children under 18 years during that period," Ms. Baro stated in an e-mail to Shibly.

Tariq, who was a sophomore in high school at the Universal Academy of Florida in Tampa, and an American-born citizen, was visiting relatives in Jerusalem when he was attacked and brutally beaten by Israeli soldiers on July 3, 2014. He was then incarcerated with major untreated medical injuries.

With assistance from CAIR-Florida, Tariq eventually was released and July 16, arrived safely home in Tampa.

On July 23, 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on "Ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem" in which it decided to establish an independent, international commission of inquiry, "to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip … to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible, to make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways and means to protect civilians against any further assaults."

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