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Saudi with pressure cooker questioned by US police

Neighbour alarmed amid concerns about suspicious-looking item

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 13:06 May 10, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Courtesy: Okaz
  • Talal Al Rooqi was asked to be careful about things he chose to carry in public.

Manama: A Saudi student was questioned and his flat was searched by the police in Michigan after he was seen carrying a pressure cooker.

The police reportedly received a call from a neighbour who was alarmed when she saw the student leave his flat with a silver pressure cooker that looked like the ones used in the Boston marathon blasts.

“I was having breakfast when the police came over and told me that they wanted to ask me some questions,” Talal Al Rooqi told Saudi daily Okaz. “I became tense even though I had done nothing wrong and I had nothing to hide. They were very calm and asked if they could come in. Their questions were about my education in the US, the date of my arrival in the country and my activities outside the university,” he said.

When he inquired about the reason for their unexpected visit, he was told that it was related to a witness account.

“They asked me if I had taken a silver pressure cooker somewhere. I told them that I carried a pressure cooker that Saudis used to cook rice over to a friend’s flat where we had dinner together. I informed them that I brought it home the next day and they asked to see it. After they were able to see it, they told me to be careful while handling such items in public,” he said.

Talal added that he contacted the Saudi embassy in Washington after the police left.

“I wanted to inform them about what happened and I needed to keep in touch with them. They were really wonderful with me. A Saudi official told me that they had received several reports from Saudi students about flat searches following the Boston explosions, but added that my experience was both unique and funny,” he said.

On April 22, a shopping centre in Red Bluff, California, was shut down after a pressure cooker was spotted in front of a store.

The cooker was wheeled by an employee into an isolated section of the parking lot and the Shasta County Bomb Squad was called in to deal with the bomb scare.

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