A black American convert to Islam seeking asylum in Sweden claims he was detained at the U.S. government’s request while in the United Arab Emirates last summer, tortured in custody, and interrogated about the activities of a Portland mosque.
The Blaze Yonas Fikre told a news conference that he was held for 106 days and was beaten, threatened with death and kept in solitary confinement in a frigid cell. (Nothing in Dubai is frigid with an average temperature of 75-100 degrees F all year long)
The 33-year-old, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Eritrea, says he had attended the same mosque in Portland as a man who has been charged in a plot to detonate a bomb in the northwestern U.S. city. He moved to Sudan in 2009 and later to the United Arab Emirates. He went to Sweden, where he has relatives, after being released from detention on Sept. 15.
Fikre, who converted to Islam in 2003, is the third Muslim man from Portland to publicly say he was detained while traveling abroad and questioned about Portland’s Masjid-as-Sabr mosque. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali American who is awaiting trial on a charge of plotting to set off a bomb in downtown Portland in November 2010, occasionally worshipped there. A decade ago, seven Muslims with ties to the mosque were arrested following a failed effort to enter Afghanistan and fight U.S. forces.
Fikre says he was arrested on June 1 in the United Arab Emirates and taken to a prison in Abu Dhabi, where he was questioned about the activities of the Portland mosque and its imam, Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye.
Daily Mail State Department officials were granted access to meet with him on July 28 confirmed Toner. ‘According to our records, during the July 28 visit, Mr. Fikre showed no signs of mistreatment and was in good spirits,’ said Toner. ‘He reported that he had been treated professionally and was being well-fed, and did not have any medical conditions or concerns.’
State Department officials requested to visit Fikre again in September, but learned days later that he had been deported to Sweden, explained Toner.
He, his attorney and the Council on American-Islamic Relations are demanding the U.S. Justice Department investigate his treatment.