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Oscar-nominated Palestinian filmmaker detained briefly at LAX
Posted by Michael Martinez on 02/21/2013 at 7:25 PM

Los Angeles (CNN) -- The Palestinian maker of a film nominated for an Oscar was briefly detained by U.S. officials who questioned the validity of his Academy Awards invitation as he and his family arrived in Los Angeles for this weekend's event, his publicist told CNN on Wednesday.

The brief detention of Emad Burnat, a West Bank farmer who spent five years making his "5 Broken Cameras" home video in his village of Bil'in, was quickly criticized by fellow documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, whom Burnat had contacted for help while being questioned at Los Angeles International Airport.

U.S. authorities also placed Burnat's wife and 8-year-old son, Gibreel, in a holding area at the airport Tuesday night, Moore said on his Twitter account.

"Apparently the Immigration & Customs officers couldn't understand how a Palestinian could be an Oscar nominee. Emad texted me for help," Moore tweeted. "After 1.5 hrs, they decided to release him & his family & told him he could stay in LA for the week & go to the Oscars. Welcome to America."

Julia Pacetti, Burnat's publicist, told CNN that Burnat e-mailed her and Moore about how "immigration authorities were telling him he needed to give them a reason for his visit.

"He asked me to send his invitation to the Oscars. But before I did, immigration authorities released him. It was a short-lived situation," Pacetti said.

Burnat told Moore that "It's nothing I'm not already used to" and "When u live under occupation, with no rights, this is a daily occurrence," Moore wrote on his Twitter account.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it was prohibited from discussing specific cases.







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