His wife was a US citizen and he also had a green card but had not been in the US in three years; the absence seemed to have aroused the suspicion of an officer at Customs and Border Protection at the airport and thus led to the questioning of the couple, the report said.
According to Sarreshteh’s wife, the interrogation involved a great deal of shouting and intimidating in English, which neither of the two understood. The detention and interrogation lasted for more than five hours.
His wife said that he emerged from the interview, just before midnight, pale and fearful. Two days later he suffered a sudden heart attack and died in his daughter’s home on November 8.
His family believes that the harsh and forceful interrogation by the Customs officers killed him “because of the five hours of stress.”
The Sarreshteh family is considering filing a lawsuit against Customs, their attorney Demetrios Pikrallidas said.
“This is basically a wrongful arrest,” Pikrallidas said. “There’s no reason to hold him for five hours.”
Customs and Border Protection at Dulles has, however, denied the inappropriate treatment of the couple, arguing that “Mr. Sarreshteh’s admissibility review was of a routine nature.”