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TOKYO (Reuters) - Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer, wanted by Washington for defying sanctions on Yugoslavia, plans to renounce his U.S. citizenship, a lawyer working on his appeal against deportation from Japan said on Friday.
Fischer, one of the chess world's great eccentrics, was detained at Tokyo's Narita airport last month when he tried to leave for Manila on a passport U.S. officials say was invalid.
Japanese immigration officials rejected Fischer's initial appeal against deportation and his lawyer, Masako Suzuki, has filed a second plea to Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa.
In a handwritten note made available to the media, Fischer, 61, said the U.S. government and "U.S.-controlled Japanese government, working in collusion and in a criminal conspiracy, have illegally confiscated and illegally physically destroyed my perfectly valid in every way U.S. passport."
The letter, copies of which were made available to the media, added: "As a result of the above-stated criminal act, as well as innumerable other vicious crimes against me by the U.S. government, I no longer wish to be an American citizen."
Fischer's lawyer Suzuki told a news conference he would likely become a stateless person for some time and that his supporters would try to have the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) register him as a refugee.
Suzuki said Fischer phoned the U.S. embassy in Japan on Thursday and conveyed his intention to renounce his citizenship.
But renunciation of his citizenship cannot take effect until he has met a U.S. consular official and conveyed his intent in person, she said.
A U.S. embassy spokesman declined to comment on the matter of Fischer's citizenship, but said that in general "renunciation of citizenship is a process, it takes some time, it's not done instantly."
Besides filing with the UNHCR, Fischer would also look for countries willing to let him stay, Suzuki said.
"We want to look far and wide for countries that are willing to accept him," Suzuki said.
NO RETURN TO U.S. She declined to say if Fischer had expressed any preferences but John Bosnitch, a Tokyo-based Canadian journalist and communications consultant who is advising Fischer, said Fischer was continuing to look at the option of seeking German citizenship, since his father was German.
Documents to prove his German citizenship were still being collected, Bosnitch told the same news conference.
Suzuki said she had asked the Tokyo District Court on Friday to halt deportation procedures against Fischer.
One thing that is clear is that Fischer has no desire to return to the United States.
"He doesn't have any expectation of a fair trial in the United States," Bosnitch said, adding that Fischer himself had said he would be a victim of "a kangaroo court and a show trial" if he returned to the United States.
Bosnitch said Fischer had written a second letter renouncing his citizenship that his supporters would hand to the U.S. embassy in Tokyo as early as Friday.
Fischer became world chess champion in 1972 when he beat Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union in a victory seen as a Cold War propaganda coup for the United States.
The title was taken from him three years later after his conditions for a match against Anatoly Karpov, also of the Soviet Union, were rejected by chess officials.
Karpov became champion by default.
Fischer, who arrived in Japan in April, has been wanted in the United States since 1992 when he violated U.S. economic sanctions by going to Yugoslavia for a chess match in which he won $3 million for beating old rival Spassky.
The elusive chessmaster then vanished, only to resurface after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States to give an interview to a Philippine radio station in which he praised the strikes and said he wanted to see America "wiped out."
Fischer has filed for refugee status in Japan, which accepts only political refugees. His supporters in Japan say he is being persecuted by the United States.
Fischer's supporters say he renewed his passport in 1997 and never received a letter issued in December 2003 revoking it.
State Department officials in Washington have said it took years for the legal process to catch up with Fischer.
Fischer, whose mother was Jewish, has also stirred controversy with anti-Semitic remarks. (Additional reporting by Linda Sieg)
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Thoughts about Fischer...
Dont do the crime... If you can't do the time... Though the crimes he commited were politically activated... I do believe he commited them purposely and intentionally...
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i for one have no respect
for this man. being a good chess player doesnt make you untouchable. i work in a st. prison. he is no different than any other outlaw i have talked too. most blame the system, or anyone other than themselves. i hope he is punished to the fullest extent of the law.
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person who was blessed with an extraordinary talent and let it go to waste. I was a huge fan of his and now I just hope he gets some medical help.
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your being ridculas! How many "outlaws" do you have in your prison charged with playing chess in Yugoslavia? Or do you want to lock him up for exercising his right to free speach? How about we just lock him up for his own good? The srinks would have a field day with RJ.
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The srinks could have a field day with most people - What is normal?
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Fischer was not charged with...
playing chess in Yugoslavia. As you already know he was charged
with violating US sanctions.
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It's funny the 'twist' people will put on things. (i.e. baseline's last post)
Sorry, we're talking reality. He broke US law (and was warned about it ahead of time). If he didn't like it, he could have changed his citezenship then. He could have simply paid the fine. He could have paid his taxes. If I can pay my taxes now, I think he could have on his $3 million dollar purse.
I think Bro said it best. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time ...
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I sometimes wonder,
Do the authorities seek to prosecute him for criminal acts, or persecute him for imbecilic opinions?? So many different opinions are expressed, but still I wonder. Will the chess world ever again see the like of such a collossus striding across the land? I doubt it. Can the families and friends of the innocent victims of 9-11 ever forgive his demented ravings about the event? I doubt it, if I was one of them I couldn't. One thing I am sure of: nothing that any of us here say or do will have any effect on his actions or thoughts, nor any effect on the consequences that now seem to await him, deserved or undeserved. All I can say is that I lament his loss to the chess world now just as keenly as I did back in 1975 when it seemed that he was just unable to face having to defend the title which had made him a national hero. To me he will always be a tragedy looking for a place to finish happening.
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Is second only to Capablanca as chess is concerned. As a human being there is no comparison between the diplomat Capa and Bobby the enfant terrible of the chess world. But putting him in jail? he wants to give up his American citizenship and rightly so. Bush is anyway not going to be reelected. I told you that before the fiasco in Iraq even began. Now everyone knows what a bad gambit it was to invade Iraq and still be in the iraqi quagmire a few months before elction time.
A president who probably does not understand the rule of en passant in chess wants to put a genius like bobby fischer in jail? this will create such an uproar that his slim chances of being reelected will evaporate. Bobby Fischer is not a war criminal. He has to make a living, and chess playing is his profession. So he played in Yugoslavia. Big deal! the criminals are the US government who bombed Yugoslavia. By what right? by whose authority? what did they achieve? a free Bosnia and Kosovo? they created a center for El Kaida in the heart of Europe! Europe is still sleeping but 9/11 will look like a child's game compared with what these people will create in Europe (remember what they already did in Spain?).
I hope John Kerry is more reasonable than the two war criminals who preceded him.
I always admired Spassky, not only as a chess player. His letter to Bush in which he suggests to put him in jail with Fischer and give them a chess set was a brave act. Bobby told them to their face the truth and they don't like it. Remember the drak days of senator Mac Carthy?
I hope the Americans here vote for Kerry. He has been to the wars and knows how bad they are, unlike JW Bush who served as a pilot in the national guard of Texas.
What did he do there? stop some poor Mexican "wetbacks" from crossing the border in search for a living? LOL.
His father was not the best of presidents, but the son is competing for the title "the worst president ever". I hope he and Don Rumsfeld who invented the WMD (not found until today) will be ousted of office and never heard of again, while Bobby Fischer gets a German citizenship (his father was German) and continues to contribute to the chess world. Bobby is not a diplomat like Capa and does not know when to shut up. So the best solution for both sides is that he becomes German. This is the easiest way for the Administration too.
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Posts like the above are the.....
reason why this thread will more
than likely be shut down. This is not
the place to be politicizing and insulting to
any country. Too bad but it always happens.
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I hate to burt your bubble desertfox, but not only did Kerry admit to committing war atrocities himself, but he also said he would have gone to Iraq had he known then what he knows now. I'd encourage you to vote for Nader, but it seems that you live in Israel. Which brings me to my second point. I doubt Germany will take Fischer. They have enough problems with people who deny the holocaust. I don't think they want one more.
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Bobby's getting married!!!
hey everybody, Bobby's marrying a Japanese lady in an attempt to avoid deportation! :) According to chessbase.com they've been seeing each other for years. And I always thought Bobby was a lone genius!!! I hope you'll all join me in wishing them a happy future :) !!!
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Coverage of the Fischer story
id=desertfox seems to believe that jailing RJF will create an anti-administration "uproar" here in the America. An interesting premise. However, it might be of interest to those outside the US that there has been, as far as I can tell, *zero* coverage of the story on the national broadcast news, and only the occasional brief on the cable news outlets. If there is a development, I look at the "crawl" below the main screen, and occasionally they throw us a tidbit. I'm glad there's ChessBase to follow the story carefully.
The lack of domestic coverage may seem strange, especially as broadcasts of the 1972 match very famously pre-empted regular programming here, but I think that (aside from us woodpushers, of course) it's a dead story in the US--nobody cares.
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just getting some things straight
Dokesa: We have a different law concerning naturalization in Germany.
Afaik you are an American citizen when you are born in the USA (or an US embassy etc.)
The German Law is more based on "heritage", if you can proof you have ancestors, who were German you can try get naturalized, I'm actually not sure about why the heritage is more important than the birthplace (and personally I regard the American naturalization law as the better one). I think Fischer can claim some German ancestors quite easily and try to get a German citizenship (but there might be some problems for him getting it, because of his legal charges, but since I'm not a law student I'm not an expert for that).
To deny the Holocaust is a criminal offence in Germany (I think it's §130 StGB), so I'm not sure, that getting the German Citizenship would solve Bobby's problems.
Germany and fascism today is an interesting topic, but that would go even more off-topic, than it already did. So I'll just say one or two sentences: 1. Yes you are right we have some problems with people who deny the Holocaust. 2. Those people who deny the Holocaust are fortunately only a small minority.
Personally I wouldn't like to see Fischer getting the German citizenship.
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update on Fischer
Fischer to marry Watai?
just found this article on chessbase.com (I'll paste the link at the end)
'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.
CNN is reporting that according to Fischer's attorney, Masako Suzuki, the former champ had signed marriage papers with Japan Chess Association President Miyoko Watai (picture left), which would be filed later Monday. It is not immediately clear whether he would be allowed to marry and whether marriage to a Japanese citizen would enable him to avoid deportation.
A Tokyo ward official, Yoshihisa Yabe, told The Associated Press that a person in Fischer's situation would have to provide a valid U.S. passport or a U.S. document confirming his citizenship's validity in order to get married in Japan. Suzuki said Fischer and Watai had been living together since 2000.
Fischer's lawyer said she had also faxed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and the U.S. Embassy in Japan asking an American consular officer be sent to him to accept his renunciation of citizenship, AP reported. In the letter, Suzuki accused the embassy of refusing to send an official to Fischer, requiring him to come to the embassy in person. Japanese officials, however, will not allow him to make the trip, she said
Meanwhile Miyoko Watai has sent us the following statement (in Japanese and English):
Bobby Fischer and I have decided to marry:
"I first met Bobby Fischer in 1973 when he visited Japan, accompanied by another American man, to meet several members of the Japan Chess Association. I was 28 at the time. One male member and one female member from our Japan Chess Association were offered the chance to play Bobby Fischer. I was the female player. Just one year before, Bobby had become the Chess World Champion after defeating former World Champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union, in Reykjavik, Iceland. Bobby was gracious and said we played well.
Soon after playing Bobby, I was invited to attend a dinner at which Bobby was present. We spoke and the next day I gave Bobby a tour of Tokyo. We became friends and we stayed in touch by writing to each other.
In the next year, 1974, the Women's Chess Olympiad was held in Medellin, Columbia, and I was selected to be a member of the Japan team. On the way to Columbia, I visited Bobby in America. Over the years since, we have seen each other many times and have always kept in close touch by writing to each other and by talking by telephone.
In 2000, Bobby returned to Japan and stayed with me at my home. Since then, Bobby has spent most of his time in Japan and we have lived together here. We have also traveled together extensively inside and outside Japan. Until today, we managed to keep our relationship entirely private, even from our closest friends. However, under the current difficult circumstances, this is no longer possible. I am therefore releasing this statement about the background of our relationship in order to stress that our feelings are genuine and are based on our years of close companionship.
Sadly, I regret say that this day of the announcement of our impending marriage – a day that would normally be one of celebration – is for me is just another day of worry and anxiety. My husband-to-be is being held by Japanese Immigration and faces possible deportation. I am praying every day for Bobby's release, so that we can be reunited and be allowed to continue our life together here in Japan, quietly and normally as man and woman as we have been for the past four years.
We have taken the very serious decision to marry in the midst of this crisis in the hope that disclosing the reality that we have been living together as man and wife might help the two of us to return to that happy life we had been sharing before Bobby's unwarranted detention. After more than 30 years, we have made a very serious decision that we firmly hope will be respected as the right of every man and woman."
John Bosnitch, chairman of the Committee to Free Bobby Fischer, informs us that Fischer and Watai have both completed and signed the Japanese legal documents for marriage. The marriage documents have been witnessed by John Bosnitch, a Tokyo-based Canadian communications consultant, and by Mr. Shinobu Hano, a friend of Ms. Miyoko Watai. In addition, Mr. Ichiji Ishii, former Vice Foreign Minister of Japan, has signed a new application for Bobby Fischer's provisional release from detention. Bosnitch has urged Japanese immigrations officials to consider Watai's relationship with Fischer before deciding on the chess champion's fate. "If the officials were to deport Bobby," Bosnitch said, "they would be depriving a Japanese woman of her man, with who she has lived for four years."
On Thursday, August 12, Bosnitch submitted the initial documentation of Fischer's German citizenship to the German embassy in Tokyo. The submitted papers, accepted by embassy counselor Matthias Richter, include a certified copy of Fischer's original birth certificate, which indicates that he was born to a German father, establishing his German citizenship. However, until German officials acknowledge the fact of his German citizenship in writing, Fischer is also seeking the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for politically persecuted and stateless persons.
Fischer's supporters are presenting the documentary proof of Fischer's German citizenship so Japanese officials would have to deport him to Germany instead of the United States if a deportation order were issued against him. Fischer renounced US citizenship in a handwritten letter to the US embassy that was delivered on Friday, August 6, after the US embassy consular staff repeated refused to do their legal duty to visit him in detention to take his renunciation declaration in person.
China News Asia is reporting that Fischer will not escape prosecution even if he renounces his US citizenship and marries a longtime supporter in Japan. The US State Department said generally that renouncing US citizenship has no effect on criminal prosecutions in the United States. "Renunciation does not allow a person to escape possible prosecution for crimes that they may have committed in the United States or repayment of financial obligations previously incurred in the United States," said Tom Casey, a department spokesman.
Japan Today asked its readers: "What do you think about the arrest of Bobby Fischer, compared to the arrest of Charles Jenkins?" The latter is a U.S. Army soldier who is accused of deserting to North Korea nearly 40 years ago. Jenkins is married to a repatriated Japanese abductee and like Fischer is currently seeking protection from extradiction from Japan to the US. Sample answer from Emiri, 23 (picture right): "I feel more sorry for Fischer than for Jenkins. Fisher should get just as much Japanese media coverage as Charles Jenkins. Jenkins is an old time US deserter who is trying to escape his crime through appealing to the Japanese public. Jenkins might have told North Korea confidential information about the US and he also apparently taught English to North Korean spies. That is definitely a political crime. If he could be saved, why couldn't be Fisher? What Fisher did wasn't really all that bad." There are many more opinions, mostly in similar vein, in this.
ok here's the link to the chessbase article.
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Just Sent a "Good Luck" Message . . .
. . . to my old friend Watai-san.
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an answer to ...
... Desertfox's hateful post.
"Bush is anyway not going to be reelected. I told you that before the fiasco in Iraq even began. Now everyone knows what a bad gambit it was to invade Iraq and still be in the iraqi quagmire a few months before elction time. "
I hope he does get re-elected. I'm sorry, but if people think a country that has been under dictatorship for over a score of years can be changed 'over-night', they need to think again. Maybe 'think AGAIN' isn't the right phrase. They need to 'THINK'. In our fast-food, need-it-now society, I can see how a person might not understand. I point to Japan and S. Korea as examples of how in time, we can help countries become prosperous and free.
"A president who probably does not understand the rule of en passant in chess wants to put a genius like bobby fischer in jail?"
a. President Bush is a Harvard graduate. Hardly a 'dolt'.
b. Fisher is a genius, so he shouldn't go to jail? Interesting ...
" Bobby Fischer is not a war criminal. He has to make a living, and chess playing is his profession. So he played in Yugoslavia. Big deal!"
We can all make a living without breaking the laws of our countries. Yes, it was a big deal that he thumbed his nose at the gov't and broke the law. Once again, we can see some major 'spin' on this. 'Make a living' ... you mean, win $3 million? And it absolutely had to be in a place under santions, right?
" the criminals are the US government who bombed Yugoslavia. By what right? by whose authority? what did they achieve? a free Bosnia and Kosovo?"
Wow, so genocide and ethinic cleansing should be ignored? Just like the torture, oppresion and genocide of Hussein to the Kurds? This all 'smacks' of the ostrich with his head in the sand, hoping that that mean lion will just go away if he doesn't see him.
"they created a center for El Kaida in the heart of Europe! Europe is still sleeping but 9/11 will look like a child's game compared with what these people will create in Europe (remember what they already did in Spain?). "
Beautiful. So now, we've created El Kaida. Somehow, all of those bad terrorists become our fault. They weren't already there, organising, and spilling hatred and violence upon mankind. We made them do it. If we just left those poor terrorists alone, Spain would have never happened.
"I hope the Americans here vote for Kerry. He has been to the wars and knows how bad they are,"
I hope they don't. He was in war, and then came home and was involved with the protestors, thumbing HIS nose at the gov't, and undermining the whole effort. I certainly won't say Vietnam was without its problems, but we were trying to help a nation, and I'm ashamed of those who tried to 'tear it down from the inside'.
" unlike JW Bush who served as a pilot in the national guard of Texas.
What did he do there?"
He was serving his country, and was available if needed. Criticise the Guard all you want, but I have friends in the Guard who aren't 'puttering around at home." They have left their families and jobs for a year to go help people on the other side of the world.
"... stop some poor Mexican "wetbacks" from crossing the border in search for a living? LOL."
I just can't respond to that nonsense. Where else in the world could people even try to go into another country to make a life for themselves?
"His father was not the best of presidents, but the son is competing for the title "the worst president ever"."
I think Bush is a fine president, and fine man. Full of character and hard work, and compassion for others.
" I hope he and Don Rumsfeld who invented the WMD (not found until today) will be ousted of office and never heard of again,"
a. Ummm ... the nations of the UN signed several documents in reference to these WMD. They ALL believed they were there. We haven't found stockpiles. Oh well, the 100 foot guns from WWI have never been found either .. and they are much bigger.
b. I hope he gets re-elected, and keeps Rumsfeld. Once again, I believe them to be decent and very capable men with great character.
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Closing this message thread for new posts as it is turning into a political discussion, which has little to do with chess.