A US citizen says he’s been prevented from returning to the United States after ending an eighteen-month stay in Yemen. Twenty-six year-old Yahya Wehelie of Fairfax, Virginia, has been stuck in Egypt for the past six weeks after US officials told him he is on the no-fly list because of people he met in Yemen during his time there. Wehelie is a Muslim of Somali descent. In an interview with the Associated Press, he said he’s in limbo.
Yahya Wehelie: “Why is the US government not letting me go back home? I’m a US citizen. There’s no way I can — I can’t fly on any US planes. I can’t fly in US airspace. How would I be able to get home?”
Yahya Wehelie was traveling with his brother Yusuf, who was also detained before ultimately being allowed to return home. At a news conference in Washington, Yusuf Wehelie said he was interrogated by a man claiming to work for the CIA before being sent to an Egyptian prison for three days.
Yusuf Wehelie: “I was taken before an Egyptian judge, who allowed me to be released. But I wasn’t released. Instead, I was put into the back of an Egyptian police car, handcuffed, blindfolded, and driven to what I believe to be the Police Ministry. I was there, and I was placed in a corridor with other prisoners shackled to the wall.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations says the no-fly list is being used as a form of “extraordinary rendition” and is calling on the Obama administration to intervene.