Security removes an apparent protester before a joint press conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin in the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva via AP)

Writer removed from summit event says he only had a question

July 17, 2018 - 3:48 pm

HELSINKI (AP) — The writer and political activist who was forcibly removed from a room where U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin were about to give a joint news conference said Tuesday he wasn't trying to protest.

Sam Husseini, a contributor to The Nation magazine, told The Associated Press that he held up a piece of paper with "Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty" printed on it to get attention so he could ask a question "on Syria's nuclear policy" and the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia.

"I wasn't doing a protest," Husseini said in an AP interview. "I simply wanted to hold up a sign so that they would call on me.

"Nobody is talking about the fact that Putin and Trump are, in effect, using their nuclear weapons for their own geo-strategic interests and threatening humanity with it," he added. "I felt this was an important thing to raise."

Finnish police said Husseini was removed from the room at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki and detained for interrupting the packed event, which was being covered live. He was released later Monday.

Husseini said police cuffed both his hands and legs and whisked him away to a downtown detention center for questioning.

Helsingin Sanomat, Finland's biggest daily newspaper, said Husseini allegedly shouted comments to U.S. journalists and disrupted the live broadcasts they were doing while awaiting Putin and Trump.

CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett tweeted amid Monday's commotion that Husseini had spent hours at the palace's press area "passing out literature to us and generally hanging around."

Along with writing for magazines, Husseini works as the communications director at the Institute for Public Accuracy, a Washington-based group.

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