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Germany Asks US Why German Muslim Was Detained, Deported January 4, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News, World News.
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BERLIN (AP)–Germany is pressing U.S. authorities to explain why they detained and deported a German businessman of Syrian descent who wanted to surprise his daughter with a holiday visit, a spokesman said Thursday.

Majed Shehadeh was detained in Las Vegas last Thursday after he arrived on a flight from Frankfurt. The 62-year-old says he was detained in a holding cell for four days before being sent home without explanation.

Officials from Germany’s Consulate General in Los Angeles will write shortly to U.S. immigration authorities in Las Vegas to ask why Shehadeh was detained, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin said Thursday.

The consulate also will ask why U.S. officials allegedly relieved Shehadeh of his prescribed heart medicine, and why the immigration authorities did not inform the consulate about the case.

The spokesman said the consulate was following up a complaint from the man’s relatives that officials had taken away his medicine. Shehadeh has filed no formal complaint, he said.

Shehadeh was planning to meet up with his wife and drive to Bakersfield, California, visit relatives in the Las Vegas area and then surprise his daughter on the New Year. German citizens generally do not need visas to visit the U.S.

Instead, he says he was interrogated for 12 hours and then locked in a crowded cell at a Las Vegas jail, the spokesman said. On Sunday, he was released and sent back to Frankfurt, he said.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed on Tuesday that Shehadeh was denied entry, but has provided no details of his case, which a civil rights group described as an example of U.S. authorities’ discrimination against Muslims.

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