U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

BBC journalist questioned by US border agents, devices searched

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 18, 2017
Chicago, Illinois

Border Stop

Target Nationality
US Citizenship Status of Target
U.S. non-resident
Denied Entry?
Stopped Previously?
Asked for device access?
Asked intrusive questions about work?
Status of Seized Equipment
Returned in full
Search Warrant Obtained
REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

Passengers arrive at O'Hare airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. February 4, 2017. 

— REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
May 18, 2017

Ali Hamedani, a reporter for BBC World Service, was stopped in Chicago O’Hare airport on May 18, 2017, two days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry to the U.S. for 90 days for individuals from seven countries, including Iran. 

The British-Iranian journalist, who said he was traveling on a Media I Visa, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that border agents detained and questioned him for over two hours. Hamedani also said that border agents searched his phone and computer and read his Twitter feed.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].