CAIRO - A US Air Force veteran has accused local and federal law enforcement officers of harassing him since finally being allowed to visit his ailing mother in his native Oklahoma after twice being denied the right to travel after his name was placed on the US no-fly list.
I arrived in McAlester in the evening on the 19th [Nov.], Saadiq Long, 43, told McAlester News Capital.
And on the 20th, at around 11 am, an FBI agent came to my mother's home.
After that, Long said FBI agents staked out his mother's house and followed him everywhere he went.
Several agents were staked out at my mother's house 24 hours a day, Long said.
Long's sister Ava Anderson said the family wanted to have a peaceful time with Long home from the Middle East, where he resides and teaches English.
Instead, she said FBI agents came to their mother's home, and the family also noticed they were being followed on more than one occasion.
Anderson talked about being closely followed while driving her brother around McAlester, where he is visiting his mother, who has congestive heart failure.
Driving to Oklahoma City on Nov. 23, Anderson noticed two cars following her too slowly.
She was nervous and slowed down, in hopes that the two vehicles would pass her but they did not.
She added that the vehicles' windows were tinted so darkly that she could not see inside to determine who was following her.
I was in fear for my safety, she said at a news conference held by CAIR's Oklahoma chapter Thursday.
I pulled into the driveway at the police station (in McAlester) and told my brother I was going inside, Anderson said.
Eight to 15 officers surrounded my car with their guns drawn, Anderson said. It was hard to see cause they had a spotlight on me.
Anderson said she was handcuffed and, when police saw her brother in the back of her vehicle with his hands up, they drew their guns again and ordered him out of the car.
Later on, they were released by the police.
We were told we were free to go, she said. They never even checked our IDs.
Denouncing harassment to the Muslim air force veteran, CAIR filed a letter with the Department of Justice requesting an investigation into the unlawful detention at gunpoint of Saadiq Long and his sister by the FBI and other Oklahoma-based agents.
We're trying to get answers, Adam Soltani, Long's attorney and executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations Oklahoma.
The letter, written by Gadeir Abbas, an attorney for the civil rights group, requested that the justice department investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the dangerous and illegal cowboy antics of the FBI's field office in Oklahoma City.
The CAIR letter describes in detail the incident that took place in McAlester in front of McAlester City Hall.
Rick Rains, spokesman for the FBI in Oklahoma City, confirmed that he was familiar with Long, but declined to comment further.
The FBI does not confirm or deny ongoing investigations, Rains said.
The FBI has a responsibility to protect American citizens. In carrying out these responsibilities, the FBI does not violate the civil rights of citizens or in any way harass citizens or other individuals.
Long's dilemma began six months ago when he purchased a KLM ticket to Oklahoma, where he grew up to see his ailing mother.
But to his surprise, he was told by a KLM air representative that he was not allowed on board because his name is placed on the US no-fly list.
The Muslim veteran was never convicted or indicted in any crime.
Receiving no notice why his own government prohibited him from flying back home, Saadiq was banned from boarding his flight from Qatar to the US twice before.
He's been attempting to return to the US for six months, said Soltani.
We've worked with him for three months to help him come back and get him removed, at least temporarily, from the no-fly list.