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Crazy day for Youngstown's Adi

By Kalea Hall

Friday, January 19, 2018

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.

ICE now has a Congressional committee notification on a stay for Amer "Al" Adi Othman. The written notification was needed, according to ICE, and "is currently under review."

YOUNGSTOWN

U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement said Thursday that it has not received “written notification from the Chair of the Judiciary Committee (or appropriate Subcommittee) which explicitly requests a stay in writing, on Committee letterhead” for Amer “Al” Adi Othman.

ICE said ADI refused his ninth consecutive meal and is currently being monitored under agency hunger strike protocols.

“To ensure the highest level of medical care during his hunger strike, he was transferred today to the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center (on Hubbard Road on Youngstown’s East Side), where his health can be monitored 24 hours a day by on-site medical professionals,” a spokesman said.

Adi’s wife and three of his four daughters were told by a deputy after waiting in the lobby of the Geauga County Jail for six hours for Adi to be released that he had been transferred to another facility.

On Thursday, the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security voted to request a report from the Department of Homeland Security that will inform the subcommittee as to whether to pass a bill offered by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, that would grant legal permanent residence for the businessman.

Adi’s release was expected as a result.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.

A Geauga County sheriff's deputy has just informed Amer "Al" Adi Othman's family as well as supporters and media members gathered at the jail for nearly five hours that he is no longer at the jail.

"It's more than just heartbreaking," said Fidaa Musleh, Adi's wife. "I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I just want my husband home."

There is no word on Al Adi's whereabouts and a representative for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would only tell The Vindicator, "Hope to have an update today."

UPDATE 11:50 a.m.

There's a state of confusion inside the lobby of the Geauga County jail and another series of twists and turns for the family of Amer "Al" Adi Othman, known as Al Adi.

The family now says is has heard from Adi's attorney. He apparently talked to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and ICE maintains it did not tell Adi he would be transferred.

Earlier, his wife, Fidaa Musleh said Adi told her he would be relocated to another facility.

His family thought he would be released early today from Geauga County Jail where he sits in a cell on a hunger strike.

He was taken into custody on Tuesday by ICE.

Adding to the confusion is that jail officials cannot discuss the case and ICE, which likely knows the most about Adi's status, is not talking.

The Vindicator is awaiting comment from ICE.

On Thursday, the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security voted to request a report from the Department of Homeland Security that will inform the subcommittee as to whether to pass a bill offered by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, that would grant legal permanent residence for the businessman.

Adi's release was expected as a result.

A Vindicator team is at at the scene and this story will be updated throughout the day.

By Kalea Hall

khall@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The fight for Amer “Al” Adi Othman to stay in the United States is not over, and, for now, he remains in this country.

Another round started Thursday evening after the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security voted to request a report from the Department of Homeland Security that will inform the subcommittee as to whether to pass a bill offered by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, that would grant legal permanent residence for the businessman known locally as Al Adi.

The vote should result in the delay of Adi’s deportation for six months since it triggers the DHS to conduct an investigation into the private case.

Ryan expects President Donald Trump’s administration to honor the will of the subcommittee and follow the same precedent of past administrations.

A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said via email the agency wouldn’t immediately be able to comment on the latest development in the Adi case.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” Ryan said during a conference call with reporters Thursday evening. “The department will have to review the case. ... They will have to report their findings back to this committee.”

ICE took custody of Adi on Tuesday. He is now in the Geauga County jail awaiting deportation back to his native country of Jordan.

“You have Republicans and Democrats standing up and saying wait a minute. ... I can’t imagine a more louder and more clear statement,” said David Leopold, Adi’s attorney. “Let’s put it this way: You just had Republican and Democratic leaders stand up and say don’t deport this man. If ICE wants to retain any bit of credibility, they should let him go. This is a good moment.”

Adi was to be deported Jan. 7, but he received a stay and was told to come to the ICE office Tuesday. Adi, his wife, his lawyer and Ryan, who went with Adi, were all shocked when he was taken into custody.

“For me and my family, this is a joyous moment, but it’s bittersweet because my husband should have never been taken into custody in the first place,” Fidaa Musleh, Adi’s wife of 29 years, said of the latest development. “We’ll continue to fight until justice is reached.”

Adi, 57, has been in the U.S. since he was 19. He is a longtime Youngstown businessman who owns Downtown Circle Convenience and Deli and Circle Hookah and Bar.

The hope, Ryan said, is Adi will get his day in court.

“It should mean he should not be deported and be out of jail soon,” Ryan said. “Amer and his family helped me make the case because he is such a good guy.”

A claim that Adi’s first marriage in 1980 was fraudulent is what led to his pending deportation. His first wife filed an affidavit in 2007 recanting the statement she signed in 1990 stating the marriage was a fraud. She claimed she signed the statement under duress and it was untrue.

Adi has fought to gain his citizenship for years, but his case has never been heard in open court.

In 2013, Ryan sponsored a private bill on Adi’s behalf that prevented his deportation and granted him legal status. The bill was not a law, but for a time prevented the department from deporting someone who was a subject of pending legislation until last year, when the rules changed after Trump signed an executive order.

Last fall, Adi was told he had to go back to Jordan. He was prepared to go back, and before he left, he decided to tell his story. After he did, Ryan and others came forward to try to help prevent Adi from deportation. Adi received a temporary stay, but at the time, ICE said: “Just to clarify, there is no stay in place. The removal is temporarily postponed while ICE finalizes removal arrangements,” according to Vindicator files.

Adi went to his Tuesday ICE meeting thinking it was a routine meeting, but instead was taken to jail where he sits on a hunger strike in protest.

“Hello, everybody. I am in good spirits. My spirits are as high as they can be,” Adi said in a Facebook video of him talking over the phone Thursday. “I am on a hunger strike, and I am not eating or drinking until they get me out of here. I do not belong in this jail. I belong outside with my family. I love you all.”

Leopold met with Adi on Thursday at the jail to tell him about the development in his case. Adi was humbled and a bit speechless.

“I am just looking forward to getting him out of there,” Leopold said.

Adi has refused six meals during meal periods, and he is being closely monitored by medical professionals, ICE said.

“Hunger-strike protocols are initiated after detainees miss nine-consecutive meals and have not otherwise been observed consuming food within 72 hours,” an ICE spokesman said. “ICE fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. ICE does not retaliate in any way against hunger strikers.”