Al Qaeda supporter, Wesam El-Hanafi, claims that mistreatment at the hands of United States officials resulted in him having a potentially life-threatening disease, deep-vein thrombosis.
“He has trouble walking. He has constant pain,” said Jake Harper, El-Hanafi’s lawyer.
Deep-vein thrombosis is a condition characterized by blood clots that form in the deep veins of the body, usually in the legs. Symptoms include swelling, pain, changes in skin color, and warmth over the affected area. According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly anything can cause the blood to clot improperly.
In the case of El-Hanafi, he surrendered to U.S. authorities in Dubai in 2010. Upon his arrest, his legs were allegedly shackled for three days. He then traveled on a 14-hour flight back to the United States, during which he was denied the right to get up and move his legs. He does admit that he was granted about 15 minutes of relief when he was able to pray and use the bathroom.
After months of pain and discomfort — and 17 months without treatement — El-Hanafi was diagnosed with deep-vein thrombosis in 2011.
“Mr. El-Hanafi now faces a lifetime of pain, impaired mobility and the threat of sudden death from embolism,” defense lawyer Elizabeth Fink wrote.
Pulmonary embolism is the primary complication facing those with deep-vein thrombosis. Embolisms occur when a blood vessel becomes so blocked that it stops blood flow to your lungs. They can be fatal.
Outside of his lawsuit, the criminal charges against El-Hanafi are for his activities in 2008 when he met with two Al Qaeda members in Yemen. In a letter to the judge on his case, he expressed deep regret for his actions.
“What ideology was I after?” El-Hanafi wrote. “I hate my actions deeply.”