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Strange case of passenger stranded at Bangkok Airport

July 3, 2013 Destination Thailand, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59An American medical student has returned home to Los Angeles after spending nearly two weeks sitting at Bangkok Airport or under detention.

The student, Rehan Motiwala, reckons he was refused boarding because his name turned up on the no-fly list – the secret US Government list of people who aren’t allowed to fly into the US.

Motiwala, 29, says US and Thai authorities told him he couldn’t travel but didn’t explain why – which usually means you’re on the no-fly list.

Motowala was finally allowed to fly out of Thailand and back to his family in Los Angeles.

The case has some unusual features. Motowala, an American Muslim of Pakistani descent, says he was told an official had arrived from the US Justice Department to question him, according to a report in USA Today newspaper. When he refused to answer questions without a lawyer present, he says he ended up in a Thai detention centre for 10 days. He claims to have been treated “like an animal”.

Photos of Motowala published in US newspapers show him with a long beard and wearing Muslim robes and prayer hat – but that should be immaterial, technically, as attire or religion is not meant to get you placed on the no-fly list.

American civil liberties groups say US citizens should be allowed home, as is their right, regardless of whether they are on the list.

Written by Peter Needham

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