American in Yemeni Custody Goes on Hunger Strike

December 6, 2012

Yemeni security forces reportedly arrested Frank Christian Motos, an American Muslim convert, on October 8 in Ataq, Shawah. He was carrying three passports – two American and one German. Yemeni intelligence suspected Motos of having connections to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and to known Salafi groups in Yemen. He was transferred to Sana’a for further questioning following the detention. Motos’ Moroccan wife, Sana Tahar, complained to the popular Yemeni online newspaper Al Masdar Online in a December 5 article that her husband was set to be released by the end of October, but is still in detention because of pressure from the U.S. embassy. Her husband, Tahar says, has gone on a hunger strike in protest. Motos and Tahar traveled to Yemen in April 2012. Tahar said that they had stayed for four days in Aden, but found the city too crowded and moved to Shabwah, with permission from Yemeni authorities, to continue her husband’s studies. Several Americans who have joined AQAP, such as Sharif Mobley, have traveled to Yemen with the stated intention of Arabic study.