Foreign Policy

Video: Yonas Fikre Says FBI Supported His Torture in United Arab Emirates

| by Michael Allen

Yonas Fikre, a Muslim American seeking asylum in Sweden, said during a news conference on Wednesday that he was detained and tortured with the approval of the FBI, while he was in the United Arab Emirates last summer (video below).

Fikre, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Eritrea, said that he was held for 106 days and was beaten, threatened with death and kept in solitary confinement in a cold cell. He was released on Sept. 15, 2011.

Fikre said that one United Arab Emirates interrogator acknowledged that the FBI had been involved in his questioning: "He confirmed to me that the FBI was there. Also when I was getting beaten, they did admit that the FBI knew exactly what was happening and they were working with the FBI."

Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in Portland, said she could not discuss specifics of the case.

Fikre, who converted to Islam in 2003, is the third Muslim man from Portland to publicly say he was detained and questioned about Portland's Masjid-as-Sabr mosque.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali American who is awaiting trial on a charge of plotting to set off a bomb in downtown Portland in November 2010, occasionally worshipped there.

Fikre says he met Mohamud a few times, but wouldn't call him a friend or an acquaintance.