Brazilian police deport alleged Palestinian member of Hamas

Brazilian police deport alleged Palestinian member of Hamas
The lawyer for Abuumar said that the deportation was based on a politically motivated request from the US
2 min read
Muslim M. A. Abuumar had arrived with his family to Sao Paulo's Guarulhos airport [Getty]

Brazil has deported an alleged Palestinian member of Hamas and his family at the request of US State Department, Brazilian federal police sources told Reuters on Monday.

Muslim M. A. Abuumar and his 7-month pregnant wife, his son and mother-in-law, were detained entering the country at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos airport and put on a Qatar Airways flight back to Doha on Sunday, the sources said.

"The request came from the US Department of State," a senior federal police officer said. "It was proven before a judge that he was deeply involved with Hamas," he said.

A federal judge in Sao Paulo stopped the deportation on Saturday and requested information from the police, which when provided led her to approve deporting Abuumar and his family.

According to the injunction filed by Abuumar's lawyer, Bruno Henrique de Moura, the Palestinian family was detained by police on entry at Guarulhos airport without a warrant. It said they were coming to visit his brother who lives in Brazil.

Abuumar, aged 37, is executive director of the Asia Middle East Center, and his wife is Malaysian and his children Malaysian-born, the injunction said.

A police source said Abuumar has first flown to Brazil last year, arriving on 1 January, the day leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn into office.

Palestinian ambassador in Brasilia, Ibrahim Al Zeben, said nobody officially contacted the embassy about Abuumar. "We trust Brazilian policy," he added in a message to Reuters.

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Lawyer Moura said Brazilian police "simply agreed to a US request that was politically-motivated" and based on Abuumar's name appearing on the US government's terrorist watchlist.

"The United States uses this list to make life difficult for pro-Palestinian activists," Moura said.

Judge Milenna da Cunha said in her ruling seen by Reuters that Brazilian federal police received an alert from the US embassy that "a Hamas operative, Muslim Abuumar" would be arriving in Brazil on Friday from Kuala Lumpur.

The judge's decision approving the deportation cited Abuumar's social media postings of him meeting in Doha with Ismail Haniyeh, a chief political leader of Hamas.

She also cited Brazilian police's suspicion that Abuumar was traveling to Brazil with his family for his wife to give birth so their child would be a naturalized Brazilian citizen.

(Reuters & The New Arab Staff)