An Ethiopian Man held after mailing HIV-tainted blood to Obama – CNN

February 27th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

An Ethiopian immigrant with a history of mental health problems is in custody after being accused of mailing a letter with HIV-tainted blood to Barack Obama when he was president-elect, according to court records. (more…)

An Ethiopian immigrant with a history of mental health problems is in custody after being accused of mailing a letter with HIV-tainted blood to Barack Obama when he was president-elect, according to court records.

Saad Bedrie Hussein told investigators that he is an admirer of Obama and that the letter — containing his photo, an admission ticket to Obama’s election night victory party in Chicago’s Grant Park and six index cards containing writing and reddish stains — was his way of seeking government help and tickets to Obama’s inauguration.

Hussein, who has HIV, said he “purposely cut one of his fingers with a razor so he could bleed on the letter,” according to an affidavit by Terry L. Cullivan, an investigator with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The letter, postmarked December 27 and written in an Ethiopian language, was addressed to Obama at the Illinois Department on Aging in Springfield, Illinois. When the letter was opened two days later, it was found to contain an orange powder, Cullivan said. A state employee then took the letter to another state office, resulting in a two-hour lockdown of the building, affecting more than 300 people, the affidavit says.

During an interview, Hussein was unable to remember what the orange powder was, but tests revealed it to be a drink-mix powder, the affidavit says.

According to the affidavit, during a December 29 interview, Hussein denied mailing any additional letters.

But, the affidavit said, two days later, the Illinois Department of Revenue notified him it had received two similar letters, both with Hussein’s return address. One was addressed to the Illinois Department on Aging, and the second to “Emanuel,” which investigators believe was intended for Obama aide Rahm Emanuel. Both letters contained what appeared to be dried blood and an orange powder.

The criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Illinois alleges that Hussein “knowingly mailed” the letters containing HIV-infected blood “with the intent to kill or injure another.”

In January, a federal judge ordered a mental evaluation of Hussein, saying “there is reasonable cause to believe [Hussein] may … be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent [and] unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him.”

According to court records, Hussein was arrested March 29, 2006, by Chicago police after setting a fire in the middle of a Chicago intersection, waving a Quran in the air and yelling “Allah[u] Akbar” — Allah is great — and other words. Hussein “created a standstill in the traffic and refused to comply” with police commands, Cullivan’s affidavit says.

Hussein’s attorney, public defender Robert J. Scherschlight, could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.S. Postal Service Inspector Peter Rendina said this is the second known case in which a person is alleged to have sent HIV-tainted blood through the mail for malicious reasons. In the other case, which is ongoing, a man sent blood to a person he thought was a business associate.

  1. None
    | #1

    Dryed blood has zero percent chance of infecting someone. This claim of danger is ridiculous. What next will we charge him with witchcraft? He may be guilty of a hoax but nothing more.

  2. ክላስ
    | #2

    that was not a class act!
    He did not star legit.

  3. welelaw
    | #3

    አሰደብን ይሄ ሰውዬ !!!!!

  4. Anonymous
    | #4

    ምነው እብዶ! ያገራችህንን ሰም አታስተፉ

  5. lesanework
    | #5

    የኢትዮጵያውያንን ስም ለማጥፋት በቀደምት አመታት ወያኔና ሻቢያ ይጠቀምበት ነበር:: ወንጀል ስርተው ወይም ሰርቀው ሲያዙ ኢትዮጵያዊ መሆን ጥሩ ነገር መስሎ ሲታያቸው ኢትዮጵያን ሸሽተን የመጣን ማለት የተለመደ ነበር አሁንስ እንደዚያ ይሆን ወይ አለመታደል ይህ ህዝብ በስንቱ ይከዳ

  6. Asmerom
    | #6

    Though difficult to speculate, there are evidences that the guy was paid by the woyanes to discredit the diaspora in the Obama administration. Shabia may have a source to say that because they know each other. Sad that Meles government does anything illegal to stay in power.

  7. Yelekal Egzeabher
    | #7

    It is very sad. Why is he doing bad to others?

  8. Girum
    | #8

    anonymous, አብደህ አታቅም መሰለኝ:-)


  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    As ethiopian I am shuked and ashamed to hear ethiopian guy did this. I don’t care what relign he is muslim ,cristian jush as far as he is ethiopian. I am sorry but thanks for the American security(FBI).Hop long live for Obama and his family..

  10. bini
    | #10

    some idiot did that to obama. he betta play this silly game with his friends on the street. ethiopia in the world believed as one of the most infected country with HIV. this crazy idiot confirmed that in here. what a hell. He has to face trial!! no game with obama. obama is a king!!

  11. Ewinetu
    | #11

    there is no real proof this guy is an Ethiopian…..a lot of Ertrean who are lived in Ethiopia are here this people when they do something good they call them Ertrean when they do something bad and arest they said they are from Ethiopia…..ethiopian are a good people

  12. Aleen 7
    | #12

    This is a sad story and we all Ethiopians have to condemn this kind of act. We can write a petition to the president Obama how much we support him.
    Let get united.

  13. gash Tesfa
    | #13

    This is false story.
    The guy is from other nation. Not from Ethiopia. Which language does he speak?
    If he speaks Amharic fluently then the accusation is based on fact. If not the trace must be loked for.
    Shame on this guy!!!

  14. biniam
    | #14

    This is very sad news to hear about and it is very shoking
    I feel sad for the man why does he have to do this
    what mak’s him do this
    It is just stupid
    sad news every time it is allways Ethopian for averthing

  15. ethiopian
    | #15

    this is not real Ethiopians are good people…may be it realy si an Eritrian because as one said they do something bad they bleam ethiopians …so something good and say i am Eretrian so………

  16. Anonymous
    | #16

    evil Meles will never sleep to take our history, culture and norm that we Ethiopina own, so let us not down by this kind of trash criminal think. May God bless Ethiopia and America. peace.

  17. Jungle Boy
    | #17

    This person is clearly mentaly ill, severely probably. Some of you guys here are crazier than the guy. Your ridiculous conspiracy theory out of this unfortunate situation is absurd. Mental illness is real. It affects a lot of people. I hope they will give this person the necessary treatment rather than taking him down as a criminal. Aside from sending your blood to the president, if you start a camp fire in the middile interstate, you are most probably mentally ill.

    FREE Birtukan Mideksa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Wogeen
    | #18

    Everybody, Don’t try to to act like an angel just because you came from Ethiopia. Like any other country we have all kinds of people including people like you and you and you.
    Atleast wait until he is proven guilty. You have to also need to see his mental status.

  19. ይገርማል
    | #19

    በጣም ይገርማል

  20. truth
    | #20

    Every evils activity that happened and will happen in the Ethiopian affairs is sertainly performed by Woyane and it’s supporters.This is the way that have used to divert Obamas attention and disgrace the Ethiopian in a different way.We have to go forward and do what we should do.Woyane had a promice with Davil and use all evils way.If we Ethiopians stand for truth(GOD)we can distroy Woyanes and the enemys of Ethiopia.

  21. seble
    | #21

    i don’t blem this guy because he has mental illness.and he should be a place where he can get treatment.

  22. Seble
    | #22

    i don’t think he knows what he was doing poor thing.feel sorry for you

  23. Anonymous
    | #23

    አልባሰብንም እንጂ ሁላችንም ከሃገራችን ውጪ ያለነው አብደናል።

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