Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Youssef Megahed's family visits him at South Florida immigration detention center

TAMPA — Through the glass, Youssef Megahed looked like he was all right.

But that doesn't make sitting in jail, days after a jury acquitted him of federal explosives charges, any easier to take, his family said.

"It's tough to see this happening all over again," said Yahia Megahed, Youssef's brother, while driving back to Tampa on Sunday afternoon.

He and his family made the three-hour trek to the Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven, where U.S. immigration officials are holding his 23-year-old brother.

It was the first time the family had seen him since officials surrounded Megahed in a Wal-Mart parking lot April 6, where he had been grocery shopping with his father.

The family spoke with him for two hours, by phone and with a thick pane of glass between them.

"He's doing well," Yahia Megahed said. "He feels this will be over soon and he's looking forward to being released, whether he stays here or has to leave. He doesn't want to be in jail."

Immigration officials have charged him with possessing items that could be assembled into a destructive device.

He was found not guilty April 3 on a similar charge in federal court. Jurors acquitted him of illegal transportation of explosive materials and illegal possession of a destructive device, charges that could have each carried 10 years in prison.

On Sunday, the family discussed choosing a lawyer for the latest legal battle. They have met with several attorneys, and plan to announce their choice today.

They said dozens of immigration lawyers have offered free legal representation to the former University of South Florida student.

The family also told Megahed that a news crew from Egyptian national television came for interviews. The segment is expected to air for viewers in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East.

Since his brother's arrest, Yahia Megahed said, the family has been trying to make appointments with Florida senators and other Congress members. They have also started an Internet petition.

"We hope they can put pressure on the immigration officials and resolve it quickly," Yahia Megahed said. "Or at least get him out on bond. It doesn't make sense to hold him."

At the Glades County facility, Megahed stays with 96 other people from all over the world waiting there on immigration charges. They live in one big room, which he described as a hangar.

"They have beds in there, and it's where they wake and sleep," he said. "There's not much privacy but it's better than solitary confinement."

With visitation every five days, the family plans to visit Youssef as much as they can. That's where they'll be on Friday.

Chandra Broadwater can be reached at cbroadwater@sptimes.com, or (813) 661-2454.

Youssef Megahed's family visits him at South Florida immigration detention center 04/12/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 13, 2009 7:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Housing starts fall in July

    Real Estate

    WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts fell 4.8 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million. Groundbreakings for multi-family buildings such as apartments slumped 17.1 percent, while single-family house construction slipped 0.5 percent.

    On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported on U.S. home construction in July. 
[AP file photo]
  2. Pasco doubles tourist tax to finance sports complex

    Tourism

    DADE CITY — Pasco County is doubling its tourist tax to 4 percent to build an indoor sports complex in Wesley Chapel and improve its outdoor boat ramps in west Pasco.

    Pasco County's plan to double its tourist tax on overnight accommodations to 4 percent is intended to help finance a $25 million sports complex in the Wiregrass Ranch area of Wesley Chapel. It  would include a 98,000-quare-foot multipurpose gymnaisium of eight basketball courts and dedicated space for gymnastics, cheerleading and a fitness center. Shown here is the four-court fieldhouse with 50,000-square-feet of space for competitions at  Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.  Times photo by James Borchuck (2007)
  3. 5 things to do under $5: Where to see solar eclipse, Bucs training camp

    Events

    1 Solar eclipse: Turn around, bright eyes. Monday brings a total eclipse of the sun, and you'll need protective eyewear to see it. The bay area won't be plunged into darkness for a few minutes like the middle of the country, but with solar lenses you can see this rare event. The Museum of Science and Industry, …

    This photo shows a “diamond ring” shape during the 2016 total solar eclipse in Indonesia. For the 2017 eclipse over the United States, the National Science Foundation-funded movie project nicknamed Citizen CATE will have more than 200 volunteers trained and given special small telescopes and tripods to observe the sun at 68 locations in the exact same way.
  4. Florida man has some of Princess Di's wedding cake, plus 13,000 other royal items (w/photos)

    Human Interest

    John Hoatson recalls the day it all began with perfect clarity.

    John Hoatson poses with a photo taken in 2006 when he met Sarah "Fergie"; Ferguson, the Duchess of York, for tea at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in California.
  5. Les Miller on Charlottesville: 'This is not what we should be about'

    Blogs

    TAMPA -- In the aftermath of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., and ahead of today's continued conversation on Tampa's Confederate monument, Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller on Wednesday looked to inspire unity in an invocation that a colleague called "inspirational."

    Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller prayed for unity during Wednesday's Hillsborough County Commission meeting, following the violent protests in Charlottesville that left 19 injured and one dead.