Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yonas Fikre, US Muslim, Claims He Was Tortured At FBI's Behest In United Arab Emirates

Yonas Fikre, center, a Portland, Oregon Muslim American talks to media with his U.S. attorney Thomas Nelson, left, and Swedish lawyer Hans Bredberg, right, in Stockholm, Sweden, April 18, 2012. After a 2010 trip to visit family in Khartoum, Sudan, Fikre claims to have been detained and tortured. Put on a FBI no-fly list, Fikre is now unable to return home to the U.S. (AP Photo / Claudio Bresciani)
Huffington Post
April 18, 2012



PORTLAND, Ore. — His interrogators usually came in the morning. Peeking under a blindfold in a cold concrete cell, Yonas Fikre says he caught only glimpses of their shoes.
They beat the soles of his feet with hoses and sticks, asking him about his Portland, Ore., mosque and its imam. Each day, the men questioning him in a United Arab Emirates prison told the 33-year-old Fikre he would be released "tomorrow," according to an account he gave on Wednesday at a press conference in Sweden, where he has been since September.
"It was very hard, because you don't know why you are in there and the only person you speak to is either yourself, or the wall, or when you go to the restroom or when you go to the torture place," said Fikre, who was held for 106 days. "I have never been that isolated from human beings in my entire life."
An advocacy group alleges that over the past two years the FBI has been using aggressive tactics against Muslim-Americans travelling abroad to try to pressure them to become informants when they got home. Gadeir Abbas, staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says there have been several instances of FBI agents calling travelers into embassies or consulates for questioning.

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