Emirati arrested in US back in hospital

The Emirati victim of a “brutal” arrest by US police officers in an Ohio hotel is back in hospital. Meanwhile, the lawyers of Ahmed Al Menhali, who was arrested after being wrongfully accused of links to ISIL, are conducting an investigation to decide whether to press charges. Mr Al Menhali, who was in the US […]

The Emirati victim of a “brutal” arrest by US police officers in an Ohio hotel is back in hospital.

Meanwhile, the lawyers of Ahmed Al Menhali, who was arrested after being wrongfully accused of links to ISIL, are conducting an investigation to decide whether to press charges.

Mr Al Menhali, who was in the US for medical treatment after a stroke, said he was back in hospital after suffering from chest pain following the arrest.

Because of open-heart surgery he had in February, he cannot lift heavy objects or put stress on his chest because internal stitches can rupture.

“When I was arbitrarily arrested and the police pinned me on the floor, I felt an incredible amount of pain that I think is related to my heart surgery,” said Mr Al Menhali, who earlier called his treatment brutal. “Doctors are doing some tests now and I hope that things will be OK.”

He said he was happy to have received a call from Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and has been in contact with embassy officials.

Lawyer David Malik, who said he would represent Mr Al Menhali, said there was more video that has not yet been seen from cameras on the arresting police and inside the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Avon city.

Mr Al Menhali, whose arrest at gunpoint last Wednesday while wearing traditional clothes shocked many in the UAE, is protected by US laws, said Mr Malik.

“Proper application of these laws will be a step towards returning to him his dignity, which was so callously challenged,” said the human rights lawyer in Ohio.

“Once our investigation is complete, we will further analyse which federal and state laws of the US apply to his situation. At that time, with the express permission of Mr Al Menhali, we will proceed accordingly.”

Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, said he conveyed “deep dismay and concern” to the US government over Mr Al Menhali’s treatment. Mr Al Otaiba said police “acted inappropriately and with excessive force that was totally unwarranted”.

He met Susan Ziadeh, deputy assistant secretary for Arabian Peninsula affairs at the US state department, and spoke to Bryan Jensen, the mayor of Avon.

“In the context of the greater violence across the world over the last week, the incident in Avon may seem unimportant,” Mr Al Otaiba said. “But tolerance and understanding should never be a victim of bias and bigotry anywhere, particularly between Emiratis and Americans.”

UAE soldiers fought alongside the US against the Taliban for more than 12 years, and flew with the US air force in the first mission against ISIL in Syria, he said.

“In the UAE, we are also strong believers and advocates of religious diversity and tolerance, guided by the true tenets of Islam: respect, inclusion and peace,” he said. “In this spirit, we welcome hundreds of thousands of Americans to live and work in the UAE.

“The hundreds of thousands of Emiratis who live in or visit the US each year for business, medical care, education or tourism should expect to be treated the same, not singled out because of their beliefs, attire or language.”

Mr Al Menhali was trying to book a room at the hotel when the family of a clerk alerted police about a “suspicious man” with two phones. Officers at the scene ordered him to lay on the ground and drop his phone. A search found no weapons.

After the incident, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation warned Emiratis against wearing national dress while travelling overseas.

Marriott International, which owns the hotel, called the arrest a “terrible misunderstanding” that it “deeply” regrets. “We have been in regular contact with the hotel since and we will be following up to discuss diversity and inclusion training to help prevent this type of situation.”

Mr Jensen said he regretted the incident and that his city welcomed visitors from the UAE and other countries.

“We are reviewing all of the circumstances surrounding this incident to determine if the individual who placed this call could face charges, and we are reviewing the response provided by our officers to determine if we need to make any changes to our 911 protocol,” he said.

nalremeithi@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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