Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Visiting Libyan doctor reports harsh treatment by FBI

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013   No comments

By Alexa Vaughn

Three Libyan doctors, visiting Boston and Seattle to begin a health-care partnership with U.S. physicians, say they were detained and interrogated as soon as they arrived in the U.S.

When Dr. Laila Taher Bugaighis landed in the United States with two other Libyan physicians Sunday, all she was expecting was the beginning of an exciting partnership with hospitals in Seattle and Boston — one that would help elevate sorely lacking health care in her own country.

The partnership was the kind of outreach former U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens had been trying to create when he was killed in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. His sister, Seattle Children’s Dr. Anne Stevens, has since collaborated with Dr. Thomas Burke of Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital to make that dream happen.
So it shocked everyone when, as soon as they landed in Boston, Bugaighis and the other physicians were immediately detained by people she believed to be Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and then interrogated for hours, she said.

Bugaighis, deputy director general of Benghazi Medical Center, hadn’t been to the United States since before Stevens’ death. So when their passports were taken and their baggage searched, Bugaighis said, she thought the security measures might be routine, considering the current uneasy relations between Libya and United States. The trip, after all, had been cleared through her government and the U.S. State Department.

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