An American Muslim man has sued the FBI and the U.S. State Department after he was allegedly held illegally for 106 days and subjected to violent beatings for his refusal to become an informant at the Portland Mosque he had once attended.
Yonas Fikre is the fourth man in the Portland area to claim the FBI tortured him.
In 2009, when Fikre moved to Sudan to open an electronics business, he received an invitation to discuss American safety by a man who claimed to be a US Embassy official. Instead, Fikre was contained a windowless room and interrogated by FBI agents Davis Nordeloos and Jason Dundas concerning the Masjid As-Saber mosque in Portland. The agents promised to remove him from the U.S. no-fly list if he cooperated.
In 2010, on a business trip to the United Arab Emirates, police allegedly invaded his Abu Dabi home and locked him in a jail cell for 106 days relentlessly interrogating him. The questions were similar to those the FBI agents had asked, including inquiries of Masjid As-Saber, leading Fikre to believe the FBI was behind this second arrest.
"[Fikre] thus inquired whether his confinement and mistreatment was at the request of the FBI," according to the lawsuit. "On each such occasion, the interrogators responded by beating plaintiff severely."
The FBI says it is unable to comment on the allegations.
Two months into his imprisonment, an FBI agent visited him and forbade him from speaking of his treatment, threatening Fikre with another severe beating.
On Sept. 4, 2011, Fikre sought refuge in Sweden, unable to fly home to America. After delivering a news conference in April 2012 regarding his detention, he was charged at a federal California court of “conspiracy to structure” money transfers from his family in the U.S. to his account in the U.A.E.
Fikre believes the charge was a response to his decision to go public.
The FBI has flagged the Masjid As-Saber mosque in the past for harboring extremists. A man convicted of planning a bomb attack in Portland, and seven Muslims traveling to Afghanastan to combat U.S. soldiers have both been associated with the place of worship.