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Detained U.S. teen ordered to house arrest by Israeli court


By Kareem Khadder and Ben Wedeman

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- An American teenager whose family says he was beaten by Israeli security forces will be kept under house arrest while an investigation into his case continues, his lawyer told CNN on Sunday.

Tariq Khdeir, 15, paid bail and will be kept under house detention for nine days, lawyer Ziad Haidimi said after a court session for the teen in Jerusalem on Sunday.

The teen told CNN after his release on Sunday afternoon that he remembers little about being beaten before he fainted. Tariq, who had significant bruising around his right eye, was driven away with his mother and father to serve his house arrest in the Beit Hanina neighborhood.

It's unclear why the teen is being investigated or what possible charges he might face.

If the investigation ends without charges, he can travel back to the United States, Haidimi said.

Tariq, a U.S. citizen and high school sophomore in Tampa, Florida, was visiting his Palestinian relatives in Jerusalem when he was detained on Thursday.

His relatives say he is the young man who appears in two separate videos being held down and beaten by men wearing the uniform of Israeli security forces.

Tariq is a cousin of Mohammed Abu Khedair, the Palestinian teenager who was abducted and killed in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Abu Khedair's death sparked unrest in Jerusalem, setting off several days of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. Tensions in the region had already spiked after three Israeli teens were found dead in the West Bank earlier in the week.

According to his family, Tariq was among the Palestinians protesting over his cousin's killing. But he wasn't involved in the clashes, they say.

"I asked my son, 'Did you throw rocks?' He said no," Tariq's father, Salah Eddeine Abu Khdeir, told CNN's Ben Wedeman.

The two videos, which were posted independently, say the beating occurred on Thursday.

One neighbor shot a video of the beating and distributed it to family and a TV station. Another video was shot from the other side of the street and posted to YouTube.

Relatives watched the video and told CNN that the teen is Tariq Khdeir. Relatives released pictures of the bruised teenager with swelling on his lips and nose.

The men delivered more than 20 blows to the youth over a period of two minutes. He did not appear to be struggling, and police carried away his limp body afterward.

Both videos start after the incident began, and it's not clear why Khdeir was attacked.

In a statement, the Justice Ministry said the government's legal adviser will investigate the videotaped beating in the Shuafat neighborhood.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is quoted in the statement as saying the images "show a very serious incident by uniformed personnel, while this is not the Israeli's law enforcement policy -- yet sadly, they are the ones headlining worldwide news."

Palestinians have long complained of rough treatment by the Israeli police and double standards when it comes to justice, said Bill van Esveld of Human Rights Watch.

"The concern is that we've got plenty of evidence that this child of 15 was brutally beaten by Israeli law enforcement," van Esveld told CNN. "And instead of the law enforcement officials responsible for the beating being questioned and detained, the child who is the victim is being questioned and detained."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the reports "troubling" and called for a "speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force."


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