A young Egyptian studying in California was reportedly found in custody of the FBI after disappearing without a trace for several days.
Emad El-Din Ali Mohamed Nasr El Sayed (Emad El Sayed) disappeared on the morning of 12 February 2016 without anyone knowing why.
According to his family members, El Sayed had been studying at the Universal Air Academy (UAA) located in Los Angeles since September 2015. The young student’s disappearance sparked a social media campaign with the hashtag #Find_EmadElSayed.
For more than a week, family members and friends were left perplexed and worried about the 23-year-old. However, it was soon revealed by some family members that El Sayed was apprehended by the FBI “for sharing a post” against U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“My brother Emad El Sayed who has been missing since Friday, 12th of February…was apprehended by FBI, for sharing a post that was against the U.S candidate Donald Trump, as ridiculous as it may sound, yes it is in fact the reason why he was put under arrest,” wrote El Sayed’s sister on Facebook.
However, a source in Egypt’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that El Sayed was arrested for posting what authorities believed was a death threat. According to this source, the USA’s ‘paranoia’ with terrorism and the fact El Sayed was studying aviation contributed to why he was arrested.
Meanwhile, according to his sister Ohoud Ali, Emad was denied of all of his rights to a lawyer during his detention, explaining why no one had heard of his whereabouts for days at a time.
“Emad was denied all of his rights to an attorney or a lawyer who would defend him and guarantee his rights for a proper prosecution then went into an undisclosed location with no way to reach out for the world,” wrote Ohoud on Facebook.
“And suppos[edly] [the] USA is the land of the free.”
Ohoud, who has also criticized Egypt’s Consulate in Los Angeles for not taking sufficient action, revealed on Tuesday that the FBI decided to drop charges related to the Facebook post, but that there is now a case to cancel his visa.
Nevertheless, an Egyptian foreign ministry source said the government is providing all potential support to secure El Sayed’s release and to allow him to remain in the United States to finish his studies after his release.
In statements to Egyptian Streets, Ohoud said that there will be a court hearing on 1 March 2016. According to Ohoud, the charges remain unclear.
“We dont know what are the charges…they investigated him because the post on Facebook, then they canceled his visa, then they detained him for NOT having a visa,” explained Ohoud, adding that El Sayed is being held in Orange County.
El Sayed’s family and friends have also been unable to directly contact El Sayed, with all contact occurring through his lawyer.
“We are just waiting,” said Ohoud to Egyptian Streets.
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