Brooklynite Turned Al Qaeda Supporter Sues U.S. Over Deep Vein Thrombosis

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A 2010 courtroom sketch of Wesam El-Hanafi, left, and Sabirhan Hasanoff. Photo: William Hennessy, Jr.

While awaiting sentencing for providing support to Al Qaeda, Wesam El-Hanafi is suing the United States for his alleged mistreatment following detention, one that the suit says led to deep-vein thrombosis. According to the New York Daily News, he developed the deadly medical condition after surrendering to U.S. authorities in 2010 in Dubai and subsequently being shackled for three days and four nights. “Then he was taken by plane to the U.S. by FBI agents who denied him the use of his legs during the 14-hour flight, except for 15 minutes to pray and use the bathroom, his suit states. That was when his symptoms began,” the paper explains. El-Hanafi claims that following his 2011 diagnosis, the condition went untreated for seventeen months “because prison authorities were indifferent.”

El-Hanafi alleges that due to the pain and suffering related to the thrombosis, he was unable to properly fight the case against him and thus took the government's plea bargain. As a result, the former Brooklyn resident is asking for a five-year prison sentence, though his accepted plea deal actually recommends up to twenty. He is also seeking unspecified damages. 

His brother Walid El-Hanafi insists the charges against the Baruch College alum and former Lehman Brothers employee were “trumped up.” Defense lawyer Elizabeth Fink wrote, “Mr. El-Hanafi now faces a lifetime of pain, impaired mobility and the threat of sudden death from embolism.”