Palestinian boy with Down syndrome detained by Israeli soldiers brought to Turkey
Gamze Kolcu – ANKARA
Al-Taweel was taking part in protests before he was captured by Israeli soldiers, who forced him against the shutter of a closed-up shop and body searched him. He was later escorted from the scene by heavily-armed soldiers.
The photo was shared widely and drew outrage from social media users decrying the harsh treatment of a disabled child.
The Palestinian boy and his family were brought to Turkey thanks to an initiative of the International Down Syndrome Federation (UDF) on Dec. 17.
UDF head Muhammed Abdullah Tuncay said they launched initiatives to bring al-Taweel and his family to the country after seeing photos of his detention by Israeli soldiers. He added that they contacted former Diyanet head Mehmet Görmez and daily Hürriyet’s Ankara correspondent Hande Fırat, who is also a supporter of the federation, to reach the family.
“We purchased tickets for Mohammad and his family to fly to Tel Aviv on Saturday but the Israeli government had put a travel ban on the family. We later diverted them to Jordan’s Amman Airport. They arrived in Istanbul via a connecting flight from Ankara on Sunday at 3 p.m.,” Tuncay said.
Tuncay also added that al-Taweel told them through body language that he had been detained for six hours and harassed by Israeli soldiers.
“Mohammad needs a serious psychological counselling,” he said, adding that the federation will provide him with educational and psychological support.