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Adi Remains on Hunger Strike

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Amer Othman remains on his hunger strike at Northeast Ohio Correctional Center after meeting with state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni Sunday.

Through a joint statement released by Lepore-Hagan and Schiavoni’s offices, Othman – better known locally as Al Adi – will remain on his hunger strike until he is released or given an explanation for his imprisonment.

“In our nation and state, no family should be forced to wade through such a traumatic and dysfunctional nightmare brought on by a complete lack of transparency and politics,” said Lepore-Hagan, D- Youngstown, in the statement. “Taxpayers deserve to be treated with respect dignity and Al’s family deserves to know he is safe and well at all times.”

Adi, owner of Downtown Circle Convenience and Deli in Youngstown, was brought to the prison Friday after being detained at Geauga County Jail following what was supposed to be a routine meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to his attorney, earlier in the week. On Friday, after the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security approved a review of Adi’s case, Adi’s family went to the Geauga County Jail in anticipation of his release.

After spending hours at the jail trying to get answers about the status of Adi’s case and his whereabouts, ICE announced they had moved the businessman to the prison on Youngstown-Hubbard Road so he could be monitored by medical staff during his hunger strike. In a statement Friday afternoon, ICE said they had received written notice from the House subcommittee and were reviewing Adi’s case.

Over the weekend, rallies were held outside the prison in support of Adi. Schaivoni and Lepore-Hagan also said they had been in contact with Adi’s lawyer, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and Governor John Kasich, pushing for the businessman’s release.

“I have an incredible amount of respect for Al because of the courage he’s showing in the face of ICE’s treatment. Al is sitting in a jail cell but all he’s talking about is his love for his family, his city and his country, “ said Schiavoni, D-33 Boardman. “That’s the kind of person we should want living in our community.”

On Jan. 3, Adi said he had received word that after 23 years, he had exhausted his appeals and would be deported four days later. The next day, it was announced that his deportation had been “unilaterally cancelled,” according to his attorney, David Leopold. The two, along with Adi’s family, went to the ICE offices in Brooklyn Heights Jan. 16 and was detained.

In their statement, Lepore-Hagan and Schiavoni said Adi wanted to express “love for his family, the Valley and the United States. He expressed confusion for his arrest because he had agreed to leave the U.S. and had purchased a ticket back to his home country, making this situation completely unnecessary.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.