Feds strand citizen Rehan Motiwala overseas for two weeks in an attempt to question/coerce him

Discussion in 'Civil Rights & Privacy' started by Mike, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Fits a by-now well-established pattern of abuse on the part of the federal government:

    1. American travels overseas unimpeded
    2. When same American tries to return home, he is on the"no-fly" list and denied a boarding pass
    3. Thugs from Justice Dept. then show up and try to coerce American into "cooperating" with them

    This guy refuse to talk the to the pigs without an attorney present and was left to rot in Thai detention for another 10 days until he was finally allowed to fly home.

    L.A. Times: Secret no-fly list blamed for American's Bangkok nightmare (June 28 2013)

    For two weeks, Rehan Motiwala, a 29-year-old medical student from Pomona, sat stranded at the Bangkok airport, sleeping for 10 nights on a roach-infested mattress in a dank, windowless detention room reserved for deportees.

    Motiwala, a U.S. citizen, wanted to return to his family in Southern California. But earlier this month, as he traveled from Jakarta, Indonesia, to LAX, airline staff in Bangkok refused to issue him a boarding pass for his connecting flight. U.S. and Thai officials told him that he could not travel but offered no explanation, leading him to believe he'd been placed on the U.S. government's secret no-fly list.

    After dozing on benches and wandering the airport terminal for four nights, Motiwala was told that a Justice Department official had arrived from the United States to question him. When he declined to answer questions without a lawyer present, U.S. officials left him in the custody of Thai authorities, who tossed him into a detention center in the bowels of Suvarnabhumi Airport.

    "They treat you like an animal," Motiwala said in a phone interview.


    In 2010, after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the no-fly list, the government said it had created a procedure to bring American citizens and permanent residents stuck overseas back to the United States regardless of their no-fly status. The goal was to "quickly resolve the travel issues of U.S. persons located abroad," a senior FBI official told a federal court at the time.

    Cases like Motiwala's show how the government has failed to carry out that policy, civil rights groups say.

    "The onus is really on the government to facilitate the return of this person," said Fatima Dadabhoy, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles, which is representing Motiwala. "Whether or not they're on the no-fly list, they can still come home."

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