Five years ago, Abdallah Higazy an international student from Egypt was wrongly interrogated by the FBI. He was accused of aiding the 9/11 hijackers with an advanced aviation radio in his hotel room. A lower court had dismissed the lawsuit against the FBI earlier. However, the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit had overturned that ruling to dismiss Higazy’s lawsuit.
During that time, Higazy states that he was forced by the FBI during an interrogation to admit that the advanced aviation radio was in his room. It was a security guard at the Millennium Hilton Hotel that stated that the radio was in Higazy’s room. This may look to be a case of racial profiling due to Higazy’s heritage and the location of the hotel as it’s across the street from the World Trade Center.
After the 9/11 attack, Higazy was detained for thirty-four days. His father happens to be a former Egyptian diplomat.
Higazy came from Cairo back in 2001. He was going to attend the Polytechnic University where he was going to major in computer engineering. Higazy was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development which paid for his room on the fifty-first floor of the Millenium Hilton. Like many other guests, Higazy panicked and took only his wallet and the clothes he wore.
But he was arrested by the FBI three months later upon returning to get back his things. Higazy states that FBI agent Michael Templeton coerced him into claming ownership of the radio by making threats against his family back in Egypt. However, Templeton denies the claims brought on by Higazy. Higazy further states that Templeton threatened him saying that he would make sure that his family would be miserable at the hands of the Egyptian security forces.
Luckily for Higazi, the radio belonged to a pilot who was also staying at the Millennium Hilton. The pilot had accidentally left it on the fiftieth floor which was one floor below the one where Higazi resided. At the same time, the security guard pleaded guilty on the charges of making false statements to the FBI.
The suit was filed at the end of 2002. Three years later around June 2005, the suit against the FBI was dismissed. As the decision by the lower court has been overturned, it’s not known if or when Higazy will actually sue the FBI.