The U.S. may be about to get another talented inventor.

Seventeen-year-old Egyptian Abdulla Assem decided not to return to Egypt after participating in Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles last week. The boy was scheduled to fly to Cairo Sunday but didn’t board the plane.

Assem arrived in the U.S. May 12 and has been holed up with friends in Southern California since deciding to defect.

The Egyptian government became interested in Assem after reading some of his opinions on Facebook, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He was arrested in April and beaten and verbally abused during questioning. Assem was eventually accused of “protesting the Egyptian government.” You can read a detailed account of his troubles with the police here.

The science fair invited Assem to participate on the strength of his “Eye Detection and Tracking-Based Communication System for Tetraplegia Patients.” The system uses a pair of eyeglasses and some motion sensors to allow quadriplegics to control a computer using eye movements.

H/t: Los Angeles Times