Sunday, May 20, 2018
Politics

Beaten Tampa teen gets plane tickets home from Israel (w/video)

TAMPA — The family of Tariq Khdeir, the Tampa teenager apparently beaten by Israeli police last week, has purchased plane tickets to return home in mid July or sooner if Israeli officials decide to lift his home detention early.

The date of his departure will not be publicly announced until the plane has taken off, said Hassan Shibly, an attorney for Tariq's family and chief executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.

The 15-year-old, on a family vacation, is the subject of a video that has fueled a worldwide controversy in which two Israeli officers are seen beating someone wearing a mask, identified as Tariq by his family, during a protest before his cousin's funeral in East Jerusalem. Israeli authorities have said that Tariq, an American citizen, attacked police and was found with a slingshot.

After the incident, but not for at least six hours, Tariq did meet with a doctor who said he needed to see a head specialist about potential brain trauma, family members said. His family has filed several complaints against Israeli police, including the assertion that they denied timely medical care to Tariq.

Monday, some of Tariq's family members held a news conference here where they expressed outrage and stressed an urgent need for Tariq to return to Tampa, where he is a sophomore at the Universal Academy of Florida.

Tariq has not been formally charged with any crimes, but was given nine days of home detention in his uncle's house in East Jerusalem while a criminal investigation occurs. Over the weekend, an official from the U.S. consulate visited with Tariq's family and appeared at his hearing Sunday, according to the U.S. State Department.

In Israel, the rules governing home detention are different from those in the United States, Shibly said. Those given home detention are allowed to leave the houses, but must remain in the area and not return to the scene of the arrest, he said.

On Monday, Tariq had traveled to the West Bank town of Ramallah — about 6 miles from his uncle's home in Jerusalem — to visit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

And on Tuesday, Tariq visited the grave of his cousin, Muhammad Khdeir, who was beaten and burned to death by Israeli extremists.

President Barack Obama wrote an op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz saying he couldn't imagine the pain suffered by the parents of three Israeli teens. He did not, however, mention Tariq.

Times staff writer Richard Danielson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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