US teen held in Kuwait returns home

Gulet Mohamed was stuck in Gulf state after being placed on the US no-fly list, prompting a lawsuit on his behalf.

    Mohamed says he was tortured while being detained in Kuwait at the behest of the US authorities [AP]

    A US teenager stuck in Kuwait for a month after being placed on the US government's no-fly list was reunited with his family at a Washington airport.

    Gulet Mohamed, 19, of Alexandria, Virginia, expressed concern for others who may be in the same situation he was in after greeting family members on Friday.

    Mohamed claims he was blindfolded, beaten and tortured while he was detained for nearly a month in Kuwait at the behest of the US authorities.

    "There are probably people out there being tortured like I was, whose voices are not being heard," he said.

    His return to the US was delayed for weeks because US authorities had apparently placed him on the no-fly list.

    His homecoming follows a lawsuit filed earlier this week in the US District Court of Alexandria.

    'Wrongfully assumed'

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations sued on Mohamed's behalf seeking an order that would require the government to allow the teenager to return to the US. But before a judge issued any order, a government lawyer said Mohamed had been released from detention in Kuwait and was heading back home.

    In its lawsuit, CAIR alleges that the no-fly list has expanded dramatically in the last year and that 400,000 individuals have now been placed on the list.

    Mohamed was born in Somalia but came to the US at age three and is a naturalised citizen. In March 2009, Mohamed travelled to Yemen and Somalia, where he still has family, to learn Arabic. He stayed in those countries for just a few months and settled in Kuwait in August 2009, where he lived with an uncle.

    Gadeir Abbas, Mohamed's lawyer, said it is wrong for the government or anyone else to assume Mohamed was engaged in something nefarious because he travelled to Yemen and Somalia, two countries labelled as terrorism hot spots with the US state department.

    For years, he said, Yemen has been a natural place to visit for people of Somali descent who want to learn Arabic.

    "Somalis go to Yemen like Americans go to Canada," Mohamed’s lawyer said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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