HomeNewsboxF.B.I. Arrests Iraqi Refugees Related to American’s Kidnapper

F.B.I. Arrests Iraqi Refugees Related to American’s Kidnapper

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. on Tuesday arrested two Iraqi refugees living in Northern Virginia after they failed to disclose that one of their brothers had been involved in the 2004 kidnapping of an American contractor in Iraq.

The refugees, Yousif Al Mashhandani, 35, of Vienna, Va., and Adil Hasan, 38, of Burke, Va., admitted to the F.B.I. that they did not tell the authorities about their brother in Iraq when they applied for citizenship, according to a criminal complaint. Mr. Mashhandani, Mr. Hasan and Mr. Hasan’s wife, Enas Ibrahim, 32, were charged with visa fraud. Ms. Ibrahim was issued a summons.

The F.B.I. said it had learned the brothers withheld the information when Mr. Mashhandani was fingerprinted as part of the citizenship process. When those fingerprints were analyzed in 2013, they matched those on a document seized by American commandos during the rescue of the contractor, Roy Hallums, in 2005.


Roy Hallums, an American contractor who was kidnapped in Iraq, in a video released in 2005. American commandos rescued him that year. A brother of two Iraqis who are now refugees in the United States admitted to a role in the kidnapping.

via Associated Press

The arrests come as President Trump is seeking to bar visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. Iraq was originally among the countries but was later removed from the ban, which is being challenged by federal courts. Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that the United States needs to strengthen its borders to protect itself from terrorism.

As part of an investigation into the kidnapping of Mr. Hallums, F.B.I. agents interviewed Majid Al Mashhandani, the brother of Mr. Mashhandani and Mr. Hasan, in 2005. He admitted taking part in the kidnapping of Mr. Hallums, who was held for 311 days in an underground bunker with other hostages south of Baghdad.

In an interview last year with F.B.I. agents, Yousif Al Mashhandani was asked why he had omitted the information about his brother’s involvement in the kidnapping. He said he was told by others when applying for refugee status that he would not be allowed into the United States if any immediate family member had a criminal background.

The F.B.I. said Mr. Hasan and his wife had discussed not including the brother’s name on their applications for refugee status.

According to the F.B.I., the two Iraqi brothers were admitted to the United States as refugees in 2008. Yet another brother arrived in 2007 but acknowledged his relationship to Majid Al Mashhandani, who still lives in Iraq.

The F.B.I. said that to get refugee status, Mr. Mashhandani and Mr. Hasan had made up a story in which Mr. Hasan was kidnapped by an Iraqi militia.

“We just wanted to leave our country,” Ms. Ibrahim told The Associated Press. “When we started the process, we were just scared to add his name.” She told The A.P. that she has two children, ages 5 and 6, who are natural-born American citizens.

“I don’t want to go back to Iraq,” she said. “It’s my nightmare.”

The three suspects made an initial appearance on Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria, Va. The men were held, and Ms. Ibrahim was released on a personal recognizance bond. It was unclear if they had retained lawyers. Each faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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