NASA strategy man, Andreas Katsouris, illegally detained and roughed up by armed men on Friday night and who was later deported has given his account of events.
“I was on my way to dinner on Friday night when five or six tough looking guys wearing street clothes surrounded me, and then pretty soon there were a dozen of them,” Katsouris said told The Star.com.
“I saw one of their cell phones and there was a photo of me on it. They said they had been looking for me.”
The armed men asked him to bring them to his American co-worker, John Aristotle Phillips.
When they got to the Westlands apartment, he and Phillips were asked to pack their bags. The men, he said, roughed them up when they protested.
“One guy also grabbed the glasses off my face. I’m pretty much blind without my glasses, and then I was like ‘OK we don’t have to do things this way,’ and then he put them back on.”
Katsouris, who had been working on the NASA campaign, packed his belongings and got into the officers’ vehicle.
Phillips later told him he was put into the back of another car with a man holding a “large machine gun.”
The officers declined to answer his questions.
“I’m sitting in the car with four or five guys, and two of them are sitting on either side of me and it is pitch black outside. In terms of kidnapping and if I was going to be killed, it definitely crossed my mind,” he said.
Five hours later, Andreas was at the airport where he and Phillips were told that they were being deported for violating their visas.
The violation was however not justified as they both had tourist visas. He said the deportation was political.
He was put on a connecting flight to Toronto, which first stopped at Frankfurt Airport, where he then took a train to Delft.
“It was 23 hours of boredom and about an hour of fear,” he said.
When asked about the NASA tallying centre raid, he said: “I saw a smashed up office. And there were multiple eye-witnesses that said computers were broken and some of them stolen.”
Before his deportation, his phones and laptops were taken away from him and later returned without sim cards. The men went through his emails.
He however said that he noticed some irregularities in IEBC’s preparedness.
Katsouris is senior vice-president of global services at Aristotle Inc., a political consulting firm that provides various services to campaigns, including strategy and data analysis. Phillips is the company’s CEO.
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