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Cape Coral pilot jailed in Middle East

Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-13 13:17:57-04

A Cape Coral pilot is in jail in a middle eastern country that says he can't go free unless he pays nearly $45,000.

Steven Bral lives in Cape Coral with his family. He's an international pilot who lived in Oman in 2012. While living there, he bought a car and owed $10,000, but had to leave the country when he lost his job. Oman law requires all Foreign Nationals must pay all debt before leaving the country.

When Bral was flying from Rwanda to Bahrain, he made a stop in Oman to change planes and was immediately arrested upon landing on March 3rd.

"You can't help but just think 'what's going to happen?'" his son Nolan Bral said.

"It's a small cell and there's six men in that cell, and they have concrete floor and nothing else, and that is where they sleep and eat. They eat in a circle on the floor with their hands," Cheri Bral, Nolan's mom and Steven's first wife, said.

Bral has been ordered to pay $44,600 to be released.

"He does not have that money in savings," Cheri said. "It's too much."

Bral's current wife Shamirah has been able to talk to him on the phone in the middle of the night.

"I know it's very hard on her, and it's scary," Cheri said.

She said guards are trying to move Bral to an even bigger jail.

"Where you hear about torture and all this other stuff," Nolan said. "You just don't know what's going to happen to him."

Bral's youngest son, Trevor, is trying to stay hopeful. "I just wouldn't understand or know if I never see him again. I just know he'll come back," he said.

The family said the U.S. Embassy in Oman hasn't been helpful.

Fox 4 reached out to the U.S. State Department. Their press officer sent us this email:

"The Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. We can confirm the arrest of U.S. citizen Steven Bral in Oman.  Consular Officers from the U.S. Embassy in Muscat visited him on March 7, 2018.  We are providing appropriate consular services. Consular officers are not able to provide legal advice, though we can provide a list of local lawyers willing to assist U.S. citizens and contact family when requested."

- Virgil Carstens

Press Officer

Bureau of Consular Affairs

U.S. Department of State

Fox 4 reached out to Governor Rick Scott, Senator Bill Nelson, and Senator Marco Rubio.

The family has started a GoFundMe page to help raise the $44,600 to get Bral out of jail.