Dramatic moments around Fischer's deportation

8/24/2004 – First the Japanese Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa issued a deportation order against former world champion Bobby Fischer's, then Fischer's lawyers filed a lightning appeal on the grounds that physical deportation would be a flagrant violation of Fischer's right to full legal recourse and protection under Japanese law. Here's the full story by Fischer's legal coordinator.

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The full text of Fischer's legal coordinator, John Bosnitch, which came in three stages as the drama developed, is given below. In summary we can tell you that just before 5:00 pm Japanese time on Tuesday Japanese Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa decided against requests filed by Bobby Fischer against his deportation to the USA. The ministry rejected Fischer's demand for protection as a political refugee, saying that the charges outstanding against him in the United States are not political in nature. Normally the plaintiff has seven days to appeal such a decision, but, according to Bosnitch, the ministry tried to deny him due process by immediately deporting him.

Fischer's lawyers Masako Suzuki and Takeshi Ohashi contacted authorities to legally block a deportation on the grounds that the whole procedure is now before the courts and a deportation would be a flagrant violation of Bobby Fischer's right to full legal recourse and protection under Japanese law. "If Bobby Fischer is deported tonight," wrote Bosnitch yesterday, "it will be the best proof so far that this entire unlawful detention and entrapment is nothing more than the will of the United States' government being dutifully executed in violation of the law by Japanese authorities."

In the meantime we received the following message from John Bosnitch, head of the Committee to Free Bobby Fischer, who is coordinating the legal attempts to block the extradition.


Urgent press release

Bobby Fischer lawsuit files, lawyers say deportation blocked

7:45 PM Tuesday, August 24th, 2004
Tokyo, Japan

Bobby Fischer is taken into detention in Tokio – Photo by Tatsuya Onishi of Mainichi Daily News
 
Bobby Fischer deportation order issued, Refugee claim rejected, immediate deportation threatened! Lawyers have warned immigration officers, lawsuit filed.

Japanese Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa simultaneously issued two decisions just before 5:00 PM today, in both cases deciding against requests filed by Bobby Fischer.

The ministry rejected Bobby Fischer's demand for protection as a political refugee, saying that the charges outstanding against him in the United States are not political in nature. Bobby has been charged for violating the sanctions against Yugoslavia by playing his 1992 championship rematch against former world champion Boris Spassky in that country. Bobby violated those sanctions as a political statement. He could have played Spassky in any place of his choosing – the decision to play in Yugoslavia was entirely political in nature and Bobby Fischer is appealing the decision to reject his refugee claim. He has seven days to appeal, but as it appears that the ministry is trying to deny him due process by immediately deporting him, Bobby has already tonight submitted the appeal papers to try to block any physical effort to deport him.

Justice Minister Nozawa also formally rejected Bobby Fischer's appeal of the deportation order issued against him by the Immigration Bureau. The minister said that Bobby Fischer's grounds for appealing the deportation were insufficient and that the deportation should take place. The minister did not address even one of the clearly illegal violations of procedure that were cited in Bobby's appeal.

John Bosnitch of the Committee to Free Bobby Fischer has been called by Bobby several times since 5:00 PM to make sure that the two lawyers handling Bobby's case act to block any physical deportation at this time. Lawyers Masako Suzuki and Takeshi Ohashi are now contacting the Immigration officials at the Ushiku Detention center as well as the Justice Ministry itself to legally block a deportation on the grounds that the whole procedure is now before the courts and a deportation would be a flagrant violation of Bobby Fischer's right to full legal recourse and protection under Japanese law.


Miyako Watai, Masako Suzuki,
Fischer's lawyer, and John Bosnitch at a press conference in behalf of Fischer.
The Committee is especially concerned that the ministry personnel who delivered the decisions to Bobby Fischer told him that he will be deported today, Tuesday, August 24th, with no further recourse, despite the pending lawsuit and his immediate submission of his appeal regarding his refugee claim. Even if he is not deported, their intentional verbal threat constitutes cruel psychological intimidation and abuse. The officials held up a kind of dog-tag identification badge and told Bobby, "This is what you will have to wear on your neck on your flight to the United States."

The normal minimum time between the issuance of the minister's deportation order and a physical deportation is three months. If Bobby Fischer is deported tonight in violation of all Japanese customs and practices, it will be the best proof so far that this entire unlawful detention and entrapment is nothing more than the will of the United States' government being dutifully executed in violation of the law by Japanese authorities. Bobby Fischer's fear that Japan is nothing more than a US-controlled colony would be proven true.

At this very moment, lawyer Takeshi Ohashi is rushing to bring an action to the court in Tokyo and is moving to block actions to take Bobby Fischer out of the detention center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture. The first claim to the court is for the deportation order to be overturned and the second is for a kind of injunction to stop all action toward the physical transfer of Bobby Fischer to the airport.

If there is any real justice available in this land, let it stand up for the rights of Bobby Fischer right now! The Committee to Free Bobby Fischer is redoubling its efforts in his defense.

Update 1

In the very latest development, Bobby Fischer's lawyers have succeeded in contacting Immigration officials to officially notify them of the filing of legal action to block any deportation and to inform them that any action against Bobby at this time would be a violation of the laws protecting his right to due process. We are continuing this battle on every front!

Update 2

Bobby Fischer's lawyer Takeshi Ohashi has reported to the Committee to Free Bobby Fischer that at 7:20 PM he formally filed a lawsuit at the Tokyo District Court to overturn the deportation order and to seek an injunction against any action to physically move Bobby Fischer to deport him to the United States. According to Bobby Fischer's lawyer Masako Suzuki, the court will now typically take about one month to consider the written request for an injunction on the whole deportation process, and if that injunction is granted, we can expect it to take up to one year for the entire lawsuit to be dealt with in the Tokyo District Court. The lawyers have sent a written formal notice to the Immigration officials by fax as of 7:35 PM notifying them that this matter has now been received by the courts for deliberation and that no further adverse actions should be taken against Bobby Fischer. The Committee to Free Bobby Fischer is confident that this battle to defend Bobby's inalienable rights and freedoms will be successful and that Bobby Fischer will be freed.

John Bosnitch

Links

There are already more than 250 news articles about these dramatic events in the international press. Here are a few for you to peruse.

  • Reuters (248.8.04, 07:10h): Japan Issues Order to Deport Ex-Chess Champ Fischer: TOKYO - Japan issued a deportation order on Tuesday against former world chess champion Bobby Fischer, who is wanted in the United States for defying sanctions, but his lawyer immediately filed an appeal, blocking the move. A Japanese immigration official said Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa had rejected a previous appeal by Fischer against deportation, issued a deportation order and notified him of the order. Fischer's request for refugee status had also been rejected, the official said....

  • The Guardian (24.08.04 8:16 pm): Japan Orders Ex-Chess Champion Deported
    Japan on Tuesday ordered Bobby Fischer deported, but the former chess champion immediately appealed the case in court, meaning he won't be sent out of the country right away. The government also ruled Fischer did not qualify as a political refugee...

  • ABC News Online: Fischer dodges deportation for now (25.08.04, 8:08pm): Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer, who is being detained in Japan, has escaped deportation to the US again. Immigration officers caught Mr Fischer trying to leave the country with a cancelled passport. Japan issued another deportation order today against the man wanted in the United States for defying sanctions but his lawyer immediately filed an appeal blocking the move. An immigration official said the court filings would only delay the process. Previous attempts by Bobby Fischer to remain in Japan have failed. His request for refugee status was rejected and his hopes of marrying a local look unlikely to be approved. The US has sought to arrest Fischer since he played a chess game in the former Yugoslavia in 1992. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Previous ChessBase articles

'Bobby Fischer and I have decided to marry'
17.08.2004 Bobby Fischer, the former world chess champion, plans to marry the president of the Japan Chess Association (and four-time Japanese women's champion) Miyoko Watai. This was reported in newspapers and wire services last night. Now Watai-san has sent us a statement explaining the background of her personal relationship with Fischer.

Fischer renounces US citizenship
15.08.2004 Bobby Fischer has been moved to a new detention facility in Tokyo, pending a decision on his deportation to the US, where he faces a 10-year jail sentence. A lot of new material has surfaced, including Fischer's handwritten renouncement of his US citizenship and a blow-by-blow description and picture of his arrest at Narita Airport. Harrowing stuff...

Spassky to Bush: Arrest me!
10.08.2004 Boris Spassky, who played the contentious return match against Bobby Fischer in Yugoslavia 1992, for which the latter is currently facing deportation and incarceration in the US, has appealed to President Bush to show mercy and charity for his tormented successor. If for some reason that should be impossible, Spassky suggests a very imaginative alternative...

Fischer's appeal rejected
28.07.2004 Bobby Fischer's appeal against his deportation was rejected today by Japanese authorities. Meanwhile the Icelandic Chess Federation has appealed to US president Bush to pardon Fischer and set up a petition web site to collect signatures. In Tokyo a "Free Fischer Press Conference" is scheduled for Thursday. More...

Fischer a sacrificial pawn?
25.07.2004 Bobby Fischer is still in detention at Narita Airport in Tokyo, traumatised but stubborn, "behaving like a Samorai". At the same time news outlets all over the world are covering the story, whit Fischer's brother-in-law Russell Targ assailing the Bush administration for playing election year politics with the former chess champion's freedom. There's a lot to be read...

Game of Life: Kasparov on Fischer - in full
20.07.2004 The news of Fischer's arrest in Japan came as a shock to Garry Kasparov, who was in a holiday camp working intensely on the games of his greatest American predecessor. In today's issue of The Wall Street Journal Kasparov assesses Fischer's chess career – for a public that was being exposed to his current situation. We now bring you Kasparov's full article.

Will Fischer be extradited?
19.07.2004 Chess legend Bobby Fischer, the hero of millions, languishes in the detention facilities of Narita Airport in Tokyo, waiting for a decision by Japanese Immigration authorities on his deportation to the US. We have collected all the documents and reconstructed a timeline to his arrest. Fischer, who has no legal counsel, is appealing for international assistance.

Bobby Fischer detained in Japan (updated)
16.07.2004 It's the latest twist in the sad tale of American former world champion Bobby Fischer. He has been detained in Japan and faces possible deportation to the US to face charges for playing in Yugoslavia in 1992. Fischer's website says he was "very nearly killed" in Japan. The story has been picked up by news services all over the world.

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