Icelandic parliament grants Bobby Fischer full citizenship
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
In an overwhelming vote, the Icelandic parliament voted Tuesday to grant the incarcerated Bobby Fischer full citizenship. The former world chess champion has been detained in Japan since July after being arrested for attempting to travel with a revoked United States passport. Japanese officials have previously said that in such a case Fischer would be sent to Iceland rather than face punishment for violating US economic sanctions by playing a match in Yugoslavia. The US has said it will oppose any such action.
The vote earlier today was 40 in favor, 2 abstentions, 21 absent, and 0 opposed. By a special variation from usual protocol, the measure was pushed through in only 12 minutes. The parliament had earlier declined to grant Fischer full citizenship, offering him instead a special Icelandic passport. This, however, was not enough for Japan, which refused to release him.
Fischer's case has been long and convoluted. Originally pursued by the US for economic sanction violations, Fischer has been on the run since 1992. In that time he has shown his anti-Semitism by having issued statements praising the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and denying that the Holocaust occurred. For these and other comments the United States Chess Federation revoked his membership. He is now also wanted for tax evasion on some property he owns in the US. He was arrested in Japan in July for travelling with a revoked passport, and has been held since then awaiting deportation. In that time he has tried to avoid being deported by doing such things as revoking his US citizenship and marrying a Japanese woman.
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