“The last time I saw my son he was in his bedroom playing Xbox 360,” recalls 42-year-old Hassan. “The next day he just left with a group of friends, then called in the afternoon and said he was somewhere playing basketball.”
It was hardly an alarm bell, an American teenager playing computer games and basketball on a quiet weekend last November, just after Thanksgiving. But 18-year-old Aman Hassan Yemer would not return to his home in Alexandria, Virginia.
Instead, he and four friends surfaced thousands of miles away in Pakistan, where they have since been indicted on terrorism charges.
“I was just amazed by this news,” recalls Hassan, who asked the BBC not to use his full name. “He didn’t even take any luggage or clothes, so it’s kind of hard to swallow.”
Hassan, an Ethiopian-born American citizen, insists his son is no terrorist.