Fischer to get refuge in Iceland?

by ChessBase
12/16/2004 – The news today on Bobby Fischer, who is currently being held in a Japanese detention facilities pending extradition to the US, is that the Icelandic government has offered to grant him a residence permit. In a telephone interview Fischer speaks about his plight in Japan and reacts to statements by Garry Kasparov on Fischer Random Chess. Full details...

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Refuge in Iceland?

The two messages we receive from Fischer's legal representatives are given below. From his Attorney Richard J. Vattuone and John Bosnitch of the "Committee to Free Bobby Fischer" we learn that Icelandic authorities have announced they will grant a residence permit to Fischer, who is being held by Japanese immigration authorities pending extradition to at the United States. "The Directory of Immigration has today confirmed that Fischer's application has been approved. The Icelandic Embassy in Tokyo has been instructed to inform Fischer about the decision," Icelandic officials said in a statement today. The Icelandic government further instructed its embassy in Japan to "help him [Fischer] to get to Iceland if he so wishes".

It is still unclear if and when the Japanese authorities will release Fischer and allow him to travel to Iceland. The Committee to Free Bobby Fischer has demanded that the US government return Bobby Fischer's original U.S. passport, and as called on the Japanese government to fully compensate the chess champion for its flagrant violations of his fundamental human rights.

Interview on Icelandic Television

There is a new interview with Bobby Fischer in Icelandic Television. In two segments Fischer talks on the phone about his plight and his appeal to the Icelandic government. In the second segment the talkshow host reads Fischer passages from the ChessBase report on Kasparov's opinion on Fischer Random Chess. Here's the exchange (around 10 minutes into the show):

Anchor: What about chess, Bobby, does it still play a large role in your life?

Fischer: No, I play Fischer Random. I have no interest whatsoever in chess. My only interest in chess is to expose the pre-arrangement, but not to play it.

Anchor: I have in front of me a recent interview with Garry Kasparov...

Fischer: [exasperated sigh]

Anchor: ...and there he takes a very positive view on Fischer Random. He says that could very well be the future of chess.

Fischer: Really?? That is a surprise because in the past he has never had anything positive to say about it. Where was this interview published?

Anchor: It was on the Internet edition of a chess magazine. I have direct quotes from the interview and Kasparov is very positive.

Fischer: That's amazing. Did he say anything about me in prison? I guess he doesn't care about that, right?

Anchor: He expresses sorrow about it and says it is a tragedy. When asked about Fischer Random he suggests that one should downsize the number of the opening positions to twenty or thirty...

Fischer: Oooooh! There's the catch. [Laughs] That does not sound like he likes Fischer Random at all. It sounds like he wants to ruin Fischer Random.

Anchor: He says "Simply pick a position and play it for a year. Next year a different position".

Fischer: That is exactly what I'm trying to avoid! I'm trying to put the spontaneity back. He's trying to do the same thing to Fischer Random that has happened to the old chess. I'm glad you told me that, I knew it was too good to be true.

Anchor: Let me give you another quote [reads from interview] "It seems to me that Fischer Random is one possible way to resolve the problem. I just heard about this and also that the reaction of chess players was, strange as it may seem, negative on the whole. From my viewpoint Fischer Random is entirely acceptable." His view on this is positive.

Fischer: [long pause] 'Well, I'm receiving a lot of mixed signals there. I don't like the sound.. no, no, I don't trust him at all.

Press Release

World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer granted Iceland Residence Permit

REYKJAVIK — Iceland December 15, 2004:

Icelandic authorities announced they will grant a residence permit to world chess champion Bobby Fischer, who is being held by Japanese immigration authorities at the instigation of the United States. Fischer was a childhood chess prodigy and is a hero to millions of chess fans. In the 1970’s, Fischer became a cold war legend by beating Russian Boris Spassky, winning the world chess championship.

"The Directory of Immigration has today confirmed that Fischer's application has been approved. The Icelandic Embassy in Tokyo has been instructed to inform Fischer about the decision," Icelandic officials said in a statement today. The Icelandic government further instructed its embassy in Japan to "help him [Fischer] to get to Iceland if he so wishes".

At the request of the U.S. Government, Fischer has been held by Japanese immigration authorities since July. Fischer was detained after trying to board a flight to the Philippines. Fischer had previously been charged by the U.S. with the fabricated crime of playing chess in Yugoslavia in alleged contravention of an ad hoc U.S. executive order. After legally entering Japan, his passport was revoked. The Japanese Government, at the request of the U.S. State Department, arrested Fischer and charged him, ex post facto, with entering Japan illegally, even though his passport had not been revoked when he entered Japan.

Japan does not recognize Fischer's "violation" of the executive order as a crime. Therefore, the Japanese Government will not extradite Fischer. Nevertheless, by revoking Fischer's passport, ex post facto, the U.S. is attempting to force the Japanese Government to deport Fischer, which is, in effect, a "back door" extradition.

In October, Fischer’s U.S. attorney, Richard J. Vattuone, went to Japan to appear for Fischer at a U.S. State Department hearing in Japan. Vattuone, an international human rights attorney, has consulted with other victims of human rights abuse, including Brigitte Bardot and Reverend Lucius Walker. Vattuone described Fischer’s detention as a “grotesque human rights violation.” Vattuone vowed to fight Fischer’s unlawful detention and extradition with every legal and political challenge possible. After hearing of the decision of the Icelandic Government, Vattuone stated that “there is certainly no excuse for the Japanese government further detaining Bobby Fischer.” Vattuone also said that, “the U.S. Government should spend the taxpayers’ money chasing down real criminals and terrorists, not harmless chess players who dare to state their political opinions.”

The Icelandic Chess Association, which lobbied for Fischer's release, praised the Icelandic government's decision. "This is a great victory, a victory for Bobby and for Iceland," Gudfridur Lilja Gretarsdottir, president of the association, told Icelandic public television. "We are helping an old friend in need and we are proud that the government had the courage to do that. Playing chess has never been a crime," she stated. Many world chess champions have come out in defense of Fischer, including U.S. champion Larry Evans, Russian Boris Spassky, and World Chess Federation (Fide) president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Richard J. Vattuone
Attorney at Law, Attorney for Bobby Fischer
7817 Herschel Avenue, Suite 200 La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone 858 824-6602
Fax 858 777-5770

Urgent News Conference

Iceland Invites Bobby Fischer

Chess Legend A Big Step Closer to Freedom!

The Committee to Free Bobby Fischer is holding a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan at 3:00 PM on Friday, December 17, 2004 on the subject of Iceland's invitation to Bobby Fischer and the impact this single biggest development in his case will have on the battle for his freedom.

Our committee has been working with Bobby Fischer's supporters in Iceland to pressure the U.S. and Japanese governments to end their totally unjustified persecution of the world's greatest chess master. This week, supporters in Iceland directly confronted the U.S. and Japanese diplomatic missions with questions and statements about the Fischer case that laid bare the continuing violations of Mr. Fischer's rights by both countries. After these meetings, Fischer's supporters reported their results to Iceland's foreign minister, who decided that the time for official action has arrived.

Bobby Fischer is now entering his sixth month of unjustified confinement in Japan at the bidding of the U.S. government. He was arrested at Tokyo's Narita Airport on July 13, 2004 after the United States falsely and unlawfully informed Japanese Immigration officials that his passport had been revoked months before.

He has since been held by Japan on a retroactive charge of having entered the country without a passport.

John Bosnitch, who heads the Committee to Free Bobby Fischer, will be joined by Ms. Miyoko Watai, who is the acting President of the Japan Chess Association and the fiancee of Mr. Fischer, and by Ms. Masako Suzuki, who is Mr. Fischer's Japanese lawyer, for Friday's news conference.

The Committee to Free Bobby Fischer demands that the Japanese government immediately release Bobby Fischer and allow him to leave for Iceland.

We also continue to insist that the US government return Bobby Fischer's original U.S. passport, which it unlawfully seized and destroyed in direct violation of U.S. law.

Finally we call on the Japanese government to start trying to make up for the dishonor it has brought upon itself through its totally unwarranted detention of the world's greatest chess master and fully compensate him for its flagrant violations of his fundamental human rights.

The absurd charade of Bobby Fischer's kidnapping and subsequent unlawful detention is moving toward its inevitable end. We call on the Japanese Justice Ministry, Immigration Bureau and Prime Minister Koizumi to finally do "the right thing", regardless of what US officials might be telling them to do... RELEASE BOBBY!

John Bosnitch
The Committee to Free Bobby Fischer


Previous ChessBase articles

Returning to the 'scene of the crime'
30.11.2004 Twelve years ago Boris Spassky played a match against Bobby Fischer in Yugoslavia. That got Fischer into a lot of trouble, while for Spassky, a French citizen, there were no repercussions. Now the tenth world champion returned to Belgrade to open the Belgrade Chess Trophy. Quick interview...

Fischer to Bush and Koizumi: 'You are going to pay for this!'
18.10.2004 Bobby Fischer, still in detention in Japan, has spoken out again in an interview, this time threatening the Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi and US President Bush: "You are going to pay for this, and you are going to pay for your crimes in Iraq too." His new lawyer, Richard J. Vattuone, plans to release documents to prove US government involvement in a plot against Fischer.

'We want to live together forever'
01.09.2004 She collected pictures of her chess hero after his match with Boris Spassky in 1972. One year later they met in Tokyo – the start of a romance spanning decades. Since four years the two have lived together in downtown Kamata in Tokyo's Ota Ward. In an exclusive interview for ChessBase Miyoko Watai tells us the story of her life with Bobby Fischer.

Listen to Bobby Fischer
26.08.2004 In emotional phone calls from his detention cell in Tokyo ex world champion Bobby Fischer gave a Philippine radio station two lengthy interviews. Fischer is facing deportation and incarceration in the US, and voices his nightmare fears: "I will be tried, convicted, sentenced, imprisoned, tortured and murdered." We have summary transcripts and audio files.

Dramatic moments around Fischer's deportation
25.08.2004 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.

'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 Samurai". At the same time news outlets all over the world are covering the story, with 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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