Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

U.S. Apologizes over Arrest of Emirati Businessman | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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File photo – Businessmen speak to each other during the Cityscape real estate exhibition in Dubai October 2, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Washington, Abu Dhabi – Mayor of Avon city in the U.S. State of Ohio Brian Jensen and police chief Richard Bosley apologized to Emirati citizen Ahmed al-Menhali during a meeting held following his discharge from the hospital and after his wrongful arrest.

Channel 5 local news broadcasted the meeting organized by local advocacy group Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Bosley apologized to the incident saying the department never intended to mistreat Menhali the way they did.

“There were some false accusations made against you,” Mayor Brian Jensen said. “And those are regrettable. I hope…the person that made those can maybe learn from those.”

A police spokesperson told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the incident happened on Wednesday but refused to give any further details because of the ongoing investigation.

The incident happened when a female clerk working at the Fairfield Inn and Suites called her sister and told her that a man dressed in Kandoura and wearing an Arab headdress is in the lobby speaking Arabic. She thought he was pledging his allegiance to ISIS.

Menhali was on the phone when the police approached him and dropped him to the ground. He was then handcuffed and arrested after he tried to resist.

However, moments after he was released, Menhali collapsed to the ground and was taken to the nearest hospital.

A video of the incident posted on YouTube showed several policemen armed with rifles take down Menhali and then handcuff and search him.

Channel 5 said that the woman who called the police could face charges.

CAIR spokesperson Ibrahim Hober told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that every other day they receive similar reports of false arrests.

“Once a report comes in, police have to act, but they have to act in an appropriate manner, not based on someone’s anti-Muslim bigotry.”

During an interview with “Plain Dealer”, Menhali blamed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for creating an anti-Muslim climate, which he believes played a role in what happened to him.

“Please tell Donald Trump to stop hating Mexicans and Muslims. Please tell Donald Trump to stop hating people,” he added.

Hotel management issued a statement saying that they won’t comment given the ongoing police investigation, but the incident began when a man acted in a suspicious way.

WAM state news agency reported that the foreign ministry summoned U.S. deputy ambassador Ethan Goldrich to protest the “abusive treatment by the Ohio police of a UAE citizen” and to deplore the filming of his arrest which it described as defamation.

Goldrich “apologized” for the incident, pledging to seek clarifications from authorities in the state of Ohio.

“The UAE cares for the safety of its citizens and demands clarifications about the incident,” it said in a statement.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Emirati foreign ministry urged citizens “not to wear the national dress during their travel, especially in public areas, to ensure their own safety”.

Director of the American Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rawda al-Otaiba expressed her dismay at Menhali’s treatment: “Police arrested and searched the Emirati without any right. He was also defamed by publishing footage of the incident.” She added that the UAE gives extra care to its citizens abroad.