State Dept. calls for due process for U.S. citizen held in Israel

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 9:06am

(JTA) — The U.S. State Department called for the speedy resolution to the case of a U.S. citizen being held in an Israeli jail.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir was arrested on July 28 for allegedly throwing fireworks at Israel Police. He is a cousin of a Palestinian teen by the same name who was kidnapped and murdered in the Jerusalem Forest on July 2 by three Israelis in a revenge attack.

Asked about Khdeir’s situation at Tuesday’s daily news briefing, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is providing consular assistance and that the consulate is in contact with Khdeir’s family and lawyer. A consular official visited him most recently on Aug.14.

Khdeir, whose age and U.S. hometown were not given, has not yet been indicted.

“We have raised Mr. Khdeir’s case with the Government of Israel. We are concerned that U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem was not notified of his arrest. We are also concerned about the fact that members of the Khdeir family appear to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities,” Psaki said, echoing a statement made by the department on Aug. 20.

Israeli police arrested Tariq Abu Khdeir, an American citizen and cousin of the murdered teen, at a protest on July 5. Tariq Abu Khdeir, who has since returned to the United States, was beaten by police while he was held.

Psaki added that the role of the State Department “is to ensure that Mr. Khdeir is being afforded due process under local laws and international standards. We will continue to seek access to Mr. Khdeir as long as he is detained, and we will remain in contact with his family.”

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