New Hampshire

Family Pleads for Release of Cancer Patient Detained in Lebanon

The family of Amer Fakhoury, the owner of a restaurant in Dover, New Hampshire, says he was kidnapped while on vacation in Lebanon. He has been detained over allegations that he tortured inmates decades ago when he worked at a prison.

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A New Hampshire family is pleading for help, asking the government to intervene after they say their father was kidnapped while on vacation in his native country of Lebanon.

The popular Dover restaurant owner has been held since September, and now his family says time is running out as he battles stage 4 cancer in captivity.

"Please, this man is completely innocent," said Amer Fakhoury's daughter, Zoya. "He is not the man the Lebanese government claims he is."

Amer Fakhoury, the owner of Little Lebanon to Go, has been detained over allegations of torturing inmates decades ago when he worked at a prison in Lebanon.

"Everyone in New Hampshire who knows my father knows what kind of guy he is," Zoya Fakhoury told NBC10 Boston in a Tuesday interview.

The handwritten notes posted on the locked door of Little Lebanon To Go, reading "we miss you," are proof that Amer Fakhoury is a beloved member of the community.

Zoya Fakhoury was with her dad on vacation back in September when she says Lebanese officials confiscated his passport upon arrival in the country.

"We enjoyed our vacation and then he went to retrieve his passport, and we never saw him again," Zoya Fakhoury said.

Amer Fakhoury's attorney, Celine Atallah, says the allegations are outrageous and that there was no legal basis for his arrest.

"We're dealing with a hostage situation. We're dealing with the kidnapping of an American citizen who is innocent," Atallah said. "We need to act fast."

Zoya Fakhoury says her father is not only innocent, but gravely ill. She says he's now battling stage 4 cancer and isn't getting the treatment he needs to survive.

"He just tells us to keep the faith and stay strong and that he loves us and hopes to see us," she said about her brief weekly calls with her dad.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says she's working with the State Department and the White House to secure Fakhoury's freedom. In a statement, she wrote, in part, "Time is of the essence and the Lebanese government needs to understand there will be consequences for his continued detention."

Now, Amer Fakhoury's family is calling on President Donald Trump to send that same message.

"To show not only America, but the world, that he will not sit back and watch an American citizen being held hostage and dying," Atallah said.

"I'm terrified I won't be able to see him again," said Zoya Fakhoury. "I just really want him back."

The family is now urging their loyal customers to write lawmakers in Washington to put pressure on the government to bring this beloved businessman back home.

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