Feb 15 2013

“Sentenced to life without air travel”

Last year, we reported on the case of Saadiq Long, an Oklahoma native and U.S. Air Force veteran who was stranded in Qatar for six monthes, unable to return home because for unknown reasons he had been placed on a “no-fly” list, and all airlines serving the U.S. had been forbidden to transport him, on the basis of some secret allegedly-derogatory information provided by some unknown government agency that had “nominated” him for this latest version of the U.S. government’s  “enemies list”.

Eventually, in the face of public hue and cry, the FBI relented (temporarily, it turns out) and allowed Mr. Long to return to Oklahoma to spend Thanksgiving with his critically ill mother.

Happy ending to a sad story? No.

Mr. Long’s attorney, Gadeir Abbas of CAIR, who has led the legal fight against U.S. government “no-fly” orders, has an update this week in an op-ed article in the Oklahoman, the state’s newspaper of record:

Mr. Long has been living and working (for U.S. military contractors among other clients) in Qatar, where his wife and daughter remained while he went back to the U.S. for the holidays. But after letting him come home, the U.S. government has now put him back on the “no-fly” list, and won’t let him leave the country:

What’s most alarming about Saadiq’s ordeal is that the FBI will never have to explain its actions. When it comes to separating Saadiq — and many others — from family via its ever-growing and always secret watch lists, the FBI is judge, jury and executioner. Saadiq hasn’t been indicted, charged or convicted of any crime. And yet the FBI has claimed for itself the power to impose permanent punishment upon Saadiq: life without air travel. If FBI agents can impose this sentence on Saadiq, they can do the same to any of us.