On July 3, American Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, was brutally beaten and arrested by Israeli police during a protest in occupied East Jerusalem.
Well it turns out he was not the only American arrested that day in occupied Shuafat. At the State Department briefing yesterday, State’s Jen Psaki says our government is “gravely concerned” about Mohamed Abu Nie’s detention for 26 days. The boy is an alleged rock-thrower and leader of protests, his family has been prevented from visiting him more than once, and there are reports “out there that he’s been beaten.”
The questioner is Matt Lee of the Associated Press, who says he first raised the issue two weeks ago.
QUESTION: Yes. One, I asked on Friday about this 15-year-old Palestinian-American kid who’s been held. Do you have any update on him?
Jen PSAKI: I do. Let me just find that in here, Matt. We can confirm that Mohamed Abu Nie, a U.S. citizen, was arrested on July 3rd during protests in the Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is providing consular assistance. A consular official assisted him on July 17th – visited him, I should say – and attended his hearing on July 22nd. The Embassy’s also in contact with his family and his lawyer. Considering his age, we are calling for a speedy resolution to this case. He is now – this 15-year-old has now been held for three weeks in Israeli custody and has seen his parents only once briefly during that night, and so we are certainly gravely concerned about the detention of an American citizen child.
QUESTION: Seen only once by that – the night that he was arrested, is that what you’re saying?
MS. PSAKI: I would have to check on exactly when his parents saw him, Matt.
QUESTION: Okay. Have you – you’ve made this – you made your concerns known to the Israelis on this, yes?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Have you gotten a response from them? Is there any sign that they are going to act speedily to – I mean, he’s been in custody for – since July 2nd. That’s 20 – how many days is that?
QUESTION: Twenty –
QUESTION: July 27th?
QUESTION: Twenty-six days.
QUESTION: Yeah, 26 days.
QUESTION: I mean, is it appropriate for – I mean, well, one, are you aware that this kid did anything wrong?
MS. PSAKI: I just don’t have any more details other than to say he – we did not – just in terms of why we just saw him recently, he didn’t immediately inform Israeli authorities that he was a U.S. citizen. So obviously, as soon as we learned that, we contacted Israeli authorities to schedule a consular visit.
QUESTION: Are you – have the Israelis done anything wrong, as far as you know, in terms of this case? Are you – I noticed that you’re not calling for him to be released immediately. You’re calling for a quick, speedy resolution to the case, suggesting that you’re not sure that the Israelis have acted inappropriately.
MS. PSAKI: Well, our role is to ensure he’s being afforded due process under local laws and international standards, and obviously we’re providing all consular access and we’ll continue to be engaged.
QUESTION: Are you able to give us details of charges he’s facing and what conditions he’s being held in? Is he in an adult prison or is he in a juvenile section?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we understand he faces charges of rock-throwing, attacking police, carrying a knife, and leading protests. We –
QUESTION: Leading –
MS. PSAKI: And leading protests, yes. We are concerned about allegations that he’s been mistreated while in custody. We obviously take all such allegations seriously, raise them with authorities as appropriate.
QUESTION: Well –
QUESTION: But do you know whether he’s being – sorry, Matt. Do you know whether he’s being held in adult jail or a juvenile section?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have that level of detail. We can certainly check for you, Jo.
QUESTION: So when I asked if you would – were worried that – if you were – there were concerns that the Israelis had acted in appropriately, that sounds like there is concern, because you say that –
MS. PSAKI: Well, we’re concerned about allegations that he’s been mistreated.
QUESTION: What are the allegations?
MS. PSAKI: Hmm?
QUESTION: What are those allegations?
MS. PSAKI: That he’s been mistreated. I think there’s allegations out there that he’s been beaten, but we don’t have – I don’t have any more details other than the allegations that have been out there.