'White Helmets' Cinematographer Blocked From Oscars Due to Travel Ban

Posted March 01, 2017

On the film's absent cinematographer, Khaled Khateeb, who was denied entry into the USA due to "derogatory information", producer Joanna Natasegara said they'd just spoken to Khateeb in the lobby.

AP reports that the Department of Homeland Security blocked Khaled Khatib after discovering "derogatory information" about him, with Khatib having made plans to fly from Istanbul to Los Angeles the day before the ceremony.

The internal correspondence indicated that United States officials reportedly found "derogatory information" about Khateeb, which resulted in his altered travel plans. When the news outlet asked a spokeswoman for the federal agency about the findings, she said, "A valid travel document is required for travel to the United States".

Derogatory information is a categorization that includes a range of issues from terror connections to simple passport irregularities.

The Oscar awarded to a documentary about the daily lives of volunteers of a Syrian search and rescue group called the "White Helmets" shows people care about its mission to help civilians caught in Syria's civil war, the group said on Monday.

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Khaled Khateeb, 21, was due to attend the award ceremony following the nomination of The White Helmets for best documentary short. According to Slate, the White Helmets are often the only emergency first responders allowed into the city. Khatib told the AP that he had not been detained, but did not elaborate further. The Syrian regime had cancelled his passport.

Following the announcement of the results, the White Helmets, who were also nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, released a statement.

Earlier this month, Khateeb announced his intention to attend the Oscars.

"Dividing the world into "us" and "our enemies" categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war", said the statement read in Farhadi's name. Despite having a US visa and his passport, Khlaed has not been allowed into the country due to "derogatory information", according to The Daily Mail. "We have saved more than 82,000 Syrian lives". Director of the best foreign film "The Salesman" also did not attend, remaining in Iran out of protest.