Saudi man detained for vocal terrorism outburst on Oregon flight

by Ella FAIRCHILD on February 24, 2012

A flight out of Portland’s International Airport had to return to the terminal on Tuesday, after the crew encountered a problem with a Saudi Arabian national who had been yelling about terrorism, as alleged by the authorities.

Mr Yazeed Mohammed Abunayyan apparently yelled profanities and swung his fist at a flight attendant while also hitting or trying to hit a number of passengers. His hatred of women was also voiced as songs were sung about Osama bin Laden.

The man was charged on Wednesday in a federal court for interfering with the aircraft’s operation. A cousin that was flying with Abunayyan said that his relative suffers from schizophrenia. The Saudis were heading home to see Abunayyan’s ill mother and the suspect had apparently failed to take his medicine for several weeks.

The cousin, Mr Fahad Alsubaie, aged 21, told a Portland newspaper that he was dragged off the plane with the suspect. Alsubaie said that the disruption started after a flight attendant decided to confront the two for having sat together, due to Alsubaie being in the wrong seat.

Alsubaie, who is a Saudi exhange student currently on an English course at Ashland’s South Oregon University, explained how he was only going back with his cousin to make sure that he safely arrived at his mother’s residence in their country of origin. According to Alsubaie though, airline staff didn’t want the two men to sit together.

A few days before, last Sunday, Abunayyan was apprehended on DUI charges and a string of others for nearly running over a member of the public during a police chase.

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