(LOS ANGELES) -- Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore took to Twitter to defend his friend who was detained at Los Angeles International Airport because, he said, officials didn’t believe the Palestinian filmmaker was in town for The Oscars.
Emad Burnat, whose film, 5 Broken Cameras, has been nominated for Best Documentary Feature, was held for an hour and a half and questioned by LAX officials about his visit to Los Angeles, Moore said.
“This all just happened tonight, a few hours ago,” Moore tweeted to his 1.4 million followers Tuesday. “He was certain they were going to deport him. But not if I had anything to do about it.”
Moore tweeted that he called Academy officials, who called lawyers, who contacted LAX to speak on Burnat’s behalf.
“I told Emad to give the officers my phone number and to say my name a couple of times,” Moore said.
Burnat, a farmer and freelance cameraman, was eventually released and told he could stay in Los Angeles for the week and attend the 85th Academy Awards Sunday, Moore said.
Moore said Burnat told him he was used to being detained because “when you live under occupation, with no rights, this is a daily occurrence.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has not responded to a request for comment.
Burnat’s 5 Broken Cameras provides a first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. It is the first Palestinian documentary ever nominated for an Oscar.
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