US 'gravely concerned' about 15-year-old American held in Israeli jail

The United States on Monday urged Israel to expedite the case of a 15-year-old American citizen held for three weeks on charges of rock-throwing, amid concerns he has been mistreated in custody.

Mohammed Abu Nie -- who has dual American and Palestinian citizenship -- was arrested in east Jerusalem on July 3, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed.

"We are certainly gravely concerned about the detention of an American citizen child," she told reporters.

"Considering his age, we are calling for a speedy resolution to this case... 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."

The boy has been charged with rock-throwing, carrying a knife and leading protests, she said, adding that officials from the US consulate in Jerusalem had visited him and attended his hearing on July 22.

"We are concerned about allegations that he's been mistreated while in custody," she added, saying there were reports he had been beaten.

"We obviously take all such allegations seriously, raise them with authorities as appropriate."

Earlier this month, a Jerusalem court ordered another Palestinian American teenager, who was allegedly beaten in police custody, to be released to house arrest for nine days pending an investigation into stone-throwing allegations.

Tariq Abu Khder, also 15, is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khder, a 16-year-old Palestinian whose kidnap and murder by suspected Jewish extremists had sparked four straight days of riots.

Khder later returned home to Florida.