Skip to main content

Israeli officer sentenced for beating Palestinian-American teen

An Israeli court said there was 'no justification' for the beating of Tariq Abu Khdeir
Tariq Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian-US teenager whose beating by border police was caught on video, stands with Ahmed Tibi, Israeli Arab member of the Knesset and his father (AFP)

An Israeli border police officer was sentenced to 45 days of community service and a suspended prison term of four months on Wednesday after being filmed beating a Palestinian-American teenager in July 2014.

Tariq Abu Khdeir was beaten by the police officer while at the edges of a demonstration over the death of his cousin Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was burned to death by far-right Jewish activists.

Police had originally said that Tariq carried a slingshot and was wearing a mask and was among a group of six protesters clashing with officers.

However, the Israeli Justice Ministry said that Tariq had not been resisting arrest at the time.

“In these circumstances there was no need and no justification to exert further force against the complainant,” magistrate’s court Judge Dana Cohen-Lekach ruled. "Despite this, the defendant beat the complainant with his fists and kicked him in the head, face, shoulders and upper body until the latter’s senses became blurred.”

However, a call by the state prosecutor for the officers to serve seven months in jail was rejected to take into account his expression of remorse, his service on behalf of state security and the circumstances in which he was operating.

The murder of Khdeir's cousin provoked fury among Palestinians and the fallout eventually contributed to the beginning of the summer 2014 war in Gaza.

The US State Department originally called for an inquiry following the release of stills and video depicting the aftermath of the beating, saying it was "profoundly troubled" by the incident.