Passport Seizure Challenged

Mosed Shaye Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen for 33 years, left San Francisco for Yemen to bring his youngest daughter home, but instead of receiving her passport his own was confiscated and he was detained, he said in a lawsuit Monday.

Omar has sued the State Department and Secretary of State John Kerry alleging he was held and interrogated in 2012, his passport revoked without explanation and he was left stranded in Yemen until 2014 with no way to return home.

The lawsuit alleges he was unconstitutionally deprived of his passport in violation of his due process rights.  The lawsuit seeks return of his passport and a declaration that the government violated his rights and a declaration that when U.S. agents seize a citizen’s passport it will immediately trigger due process requirements.

Omar’s suit, brought by the Asian Law Caucus, alleges that he waited in Yemen six months for his daughter’s passport. But when the Embassy told him it was available to pick up, Omar instead found his own passport was seized and he was held for eight hours of interrogation.

He alleges the U.S. government has a pattern and practice in Yemen of   revoking U.S. passports by accusing the holders of obtaining them by fraud.  Despite Omar’s 1982 citizenship, he too was accused of obtaining his passport under a false name.

The lawsuit says he challenged the passport revocation in Yemen in 2013 and was allowed to return to the U.S. on a temporary passport in 2014.  But that was seized when he arrived so that he is unable to travel outside the U.S., according to the lawsuit.

Case: Omar v. Kerry,  No. 15-cv-1760



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