Chenoweth Law Group

Oregon man sues government over no-fly list

A 56-year-old Oregon man was stranded in the Middle East for three weeks after the FBI placed his name on the no-fly list. The plaintiff, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was barred from boarding his flight back from Tunisia in 2012, eventually learning that he was placed on the no-fly list after visiting Libya to provide assistance to a Christian medical relief organization.
The civil litigation names officials with the U.S. State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other government agencies, accusing them of violating his civil rights and denying him his rights of citizenship, assistance of legal counsel and due process. The plaintiff also contends that an FBI agent asked him to sign a form that would have waived "a number of his constitutional rights." He claims the FBI agent also violated his right against self-incrimination as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

The Oregon man says he was refused access to his flight despite having a ticket, leaving him marooned in Tunisia. He said he was then contacted by the U.S. embassy, who informed him that agents with an undisclosed U.S. agency wished to interview him. He said he was interrogated regarding his religious practices and activities in Libya for over three hours. The man claims that agents told him he could return home if he took a polygraph test; he agreed to the test, but was not allowed to take the test after refusing to sign the document he said would have ceded his rights.

The man was eventually allowed to return home after several weeks, escorted on a series of flights with his Portland-based attorney. When he arrived back in Oregon, U.S. officials reportedly confiscated his camera, cellphone and work files in order to make copies of his data. The man claims that his continued inclusion on the no-fly list has not only prevented him from returning to Libya for business and humanitarian purposes, but also prohibited him from boarding domestic flights. He demands $1 million in damages.

Source: Oregon Live, "Tigard man on FBI's no-fly list sues government over blocking his return from Middle East," Bryan Denson, Jan. 11, 2013

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