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A Muslim civil rights organization has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the Portland office of the FBI for coercion and intimidation against Muslims trying to fly home to Oregon from abroad.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the FBI blocked Mustafa Elogbi and Jamal Tarhuni from flying back to the Portland area last month from Libya. The two men, both naturalized U.S. citizens and Oregon residents for more than 30 years, had visited Libya after the ouster of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
The group had asked last week for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to intervene in Tarhuni's case, but got no response.
Both men have done nothing wrong, said Gadeir Abbas, an attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based council. But at the FBI's behest, authorities in the United Kingdom questioned Elogbi and kept him in solitary confinement for two days when his Jan. 8 return flight stopped there on a layover. He was not allowed to continue home and was sent back to Tunisia.
"British customs officials have been enlisted to do what the FBI would not be allowed to do in the United States -- to detain Mr. Elogbi without due process and to intimidate him into giving up his constitutional right to silence," Abbas wrote. (More)