TAMPA — The Tampa teenager beaten by Israeli police after a protest in Jerusalem two weeks ago is coming home.
Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, has been released from house arrest and will be returning with his family to Tampa on tonight, said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
His flight is due back at Tampa International Airport at 10:30 p.m.
Tariq and his mother will read brief statements upon their arrival during a news conference outside the shuttle entrance at Concourse A, according to a statement from CAIR.
“We are extremely grateful for the countless individuals who made Tariq's homecoming tonight possible,” Shibly said in the statement. “Nothing will be more rewarding for everyone who worked night and day to free Tariq and bring him home safely, than seeing him back home and smiling tonight.”
Tariq, who is an American citizen of Palestinian descent, was at a protest following his cousin's funeral on July 3 when he was arrested, handcuffed and beaten by Israeli police. His family said he was only observing, but Israeli authorities argue that he was one of several masked protesters who were throwing rocks at police.
He was sentenced to nine days of house arrest in Jerusalem while authorities investigated his involvement in the violent protest.
His family said the teen suffered several broken bones and internal bleeding and was denied adequate medical care during the several hours he was held in an Israeli prison.
Tariq and his family had been in Israel since early June visiting relatives. He was one of the last people to see his cousin, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, before Mohammed was kidnapped and burned alive in what Palestinian authorities said was a revenge attack by Israeli extremists after three Israeli teens were killed in the Gaza Strip.