Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- At a time when Saudi student Hani Bokhari was close to achieving his childhood dream of joining a flying school, he was unaware that the pilot’s uniform that he was wearing when he went to meet his father at a Filipino airport would cause his dream to come crashing down. He was arrested by airport security and sent to prison Tuesday for entering restricted areas at the airport, as his uniform facilitated entering those areas.
Mohammed Abdulelah Bokhari, Hani Bokhari’s brother, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hani was beaten by airport security guards and subjected to frisking.
Mohammed Abdulelah Bokhari told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hani had gone to the Philippines to learn English and then to join one of the flying schools there. When he found a suitable school he contacted his father and asked him to come to the Philippines to complete the registration process and to have a look at the school’s program, as he was a pilot himself working for Saudi Arabian Airlines and is keen for his son to follow in his footsteps.
According to Hani’s brother Mohammed, who also works for the Saudi national airlines, Hani put on the pilot’s uniform before going to the airport to meet his father last Monday to show him that he is keen to learn about aviation
“Hani called for a taxi to take him to the airport and when he arrived he was surprised to find himself in the departure lounge. He tried to get to the arrivals area from there to meet his father who was coming from Saudi Arabia,” said Bokhari.
“As my brother tried to get to the arrivals area he passed a number of security points and at every point he showed his identity card that showed that he was the son of a pilot working for the Saudi airlines. As a result he entered unauthorized areas. But it is the fault of the Filipino security authorities as they should have checked his identity correctly.”
Mohammed Abdulelah Bokhari added that when the airport’s security authorities began to suspect his brother because of all the questions he was asking – and this proves the validity of his position, according to Mohammed – they arrested him in a violent manner and some of them beat him. Hani already suffered from paralysis in his left hand as a result of an accident.
Mohammed continued: “Airport security authorities put my brother in a room and strip searched him and photographed him as well and as a result of the fatigue that he was suffering from he lost consciousness and was taken to hospital under tight security.”
Filipino authorities took Hani, who was charged with entering unauthorized areas, to a deportation prison and was still detained at time of print (Tuesday evening). The Saudi embassy in Manila was informed of the incident involving one of its citizens, Hani Bokhari.
Mohamed Bokhari denied that the Filipino authorities had accused his brother of terrorism.