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Supporters gather to support Al Adi after detainment

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

YOUNGSTOWN

Fidaa Musleh watched as a video of her and her husband, Amer “Al” Adi Othman, was projected onto a wall in the dining area of Circle Hookah in downtown Youngstown.

The video, a news segment from a local broadcast station, showed Musleh and her husband working together behind the counter of their business, Downtown Circle Convenience and Deli, smiling and interacting with customers.

When she turned to face the crowd of nearly 70 who had gathered in the hookah cafe to hear her speak on Tuesday evening, Adi was not by her side. He is in a Geauga County jail awaiting deportation and she is in a state of disbelief.

Tuesday was Al Adi’s first scheduled appointment with immigration officials since his deportation was temporarily delayed two weeks ago. Musleh, Adi and their lawyer, David Leopold, hoped the meeting would be the first step toward convincing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials that Adi’s legal status deserved examination in the courts. Instead, he was detained.

“They took the three of us into a room and they took my husband into custody with no explanation,” she said. “When I asked them why, all they told me was that it was a decision from Washington, D.C.”

As Musleh spoke, supporters sitting along the perimeter of the room hoisted signs in the air bearing messages of support for Adi.

One was decorated with a peace sign next to the phrase “Justice for Amer.” Another, in plain black and white, said: “America didn’t invent human rights, human rights invented America.”

Musleh said that Adi was undertaking a hunger strike until his release. She said she offered a ticket to Jordan for Adi, so he wouldn’t have to sit in prison. They rejected her offer.

“It was very cruel. They wanted to humiliate him,” she said.

She wasn’t allowed to touch him when they said goodbye; their parting words were spoken over a phone with a glass panel between them.

Read MORE in Wednesday;s VINDICATOR.