U.S.-Born Citizen Blocked by Obama Administration from Returning to U.S.

Friday, June 18, 2010
Yahya Wehelie (photo: Ben Curtis, Associated Press)

Yahya Wehelie, a U.S. citizen born to immigrants from Somalia, spent 18 months in Yemen. He says he was there to learn Arabic and look for a bride before deciding to return to the United States. But Wehelie’s trip home was interrupted in Egypt, where the FBI stopped him from boarding his connecting flight to the U.S. because his name had been put on a no-fly list. Stranded in Cairo since early May, he has been interrogated by FBI agents and told he cannot board any flight entering American or Canadian airspace—even after he offered to be shackled and escorted by law enforcement on the plane.

Wehelie’s case is not the only one involving U.S. citizens stranded abroad by American officials who then question them without the presence of an attorney. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has written to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. about these cases.
“We are concerned that FBI interrogations of American citizens in a condition of forced exile are being conducted without due process,” wrote Nihad Awad, the council’s executive director. “If the FBI wishes to question American citizens, they should be allowed to return to the United States where they will be able to maintain their constitutional rights free of threats or intimidation.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
American Man in Limbo on No-Fly List (by Scott Shane, New York Times)


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