Issam Abassi was expelled from Belgium after wrongfully identified as terrorist.
A security guard from Israel's embassy in Belgium sparked controversy after he mistakenly identified a young man carrying a cricket bat covered in a sweatshirt as a possible terrorist yielding a gun.
The assistant to the head of security in the embassy was on a stroll with his baby son in mid-August on a street in Brussels when he noticed a suspicious man.
He later described the man as a "Middle-Eastern-looking young man holding a weapon covered in cloth," a description that started a chain of events which eventually led to the expulsion of the young man from Belgium – through no fault of his own.
After the security guard noticed the "suspicious man," he took a picture of him on his phone but avoided confronting him because the security guard was holding his baby son.
The security guard then proceeded to run to the house of one of the Israeli ambassadors (Israel's ambassador to Brussels Jack Revach and Israel's ambassador to the European Union David Waltzer both live in Brussels) out of fear he had detected a potential assassin.
The security guard issued emergency procedure and instructed the ambassadors not to leave their homes. After leaving his son in the care of someone else, the security guard attempted to return to the scene in order to seize the suspect.
However, by the time the security guard returned to the scene the suspect had left the area.
The security guard sent the pictures he had taken of the suspect to the Brussels police, which led to the publication of the picture in the media under the headline "Armed Anti-Semite" and called for individuals to send in any information about the man.
The day after the publication of the picture, 22-year-old Assim Abbassi from Pakistan called the police and identified himself as the man in the photograph.
Abbassi said that the described "weapon" was a cricket bat that was wrapped with his sweatshirt to protect it from the rain, and added that he was on his way to practice the sport.
His explanation was accepted by the police.
It was also revealed that Abbassi was the son of a manager at the Pakistani embassy in Brussels and had been living in Belgium for the past four years.
After the publication of the photo and the suspicions surrounding Abbassi, Abbassi's father was allegedly fired from his management role at the Pakistani embassy.
The entire family was allegedly told to return to Pakistan within a week because of "the fear they harmed the reputation of Pakistan in Belgium."
"They denied me and my family the right to live here," said Abbassi in a campaign to cancel the decision.
"I lost my education. I lost everything and nobody apologized to me," he added.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman refused to comment.
The spokesman for Pakistan's embassy in Brussels denied Abbassi's father was fired because of the incident and claimed that his contract had expired.
Israeli sources confirmed that it was later revealed that Abbassi was innocent and in fact not a terrorist. They also said his version of events was found credible.