With the passage of the "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004," it is now possible (according to section 5502, on p. 108) to deport "foreign government officials who have committed particularly severe violations of religious freedom." This is then spelled out to mean "Any alien who, while serving as a foreign government official, was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom, as defined in section 3 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998."
That section specifies "particularly severe violations of religious freedom" to mean
systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, including violations such as—
(A) torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment;
(B) prolonged detention without charges;
(C) causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction or clandestine detention of those persons; or
(D) other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.
William West, formerly of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, writes me that
Such violations are administrative (civil) statutes, not criminal statutes, and so are retroactive from the date of enactment of the law.
One can only speculate how many foreign government officials from majority Muslim countries might fall into this category, especially from places like Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, Iran and a number of other authoritarian Islamic regimes who sponsor religious hatred against any religion other than Islam and even against moderate Muslims. The recent Freedom House report on the vitriolic Saudi-provided religious hate literature found in American mosques is just a beginning.
This is powerful new law, and it will be very interesting to see how the U.S. government enforces it.
Further, such violations would arguably also be human rights violations. That means that former foreign government officials who came to the United States and became naturalized U.S. citizens could, as human rights violators, be subject to revocation of that naturalization. This is provided for under Section 5501 (on page 107) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. They are also subject to investigation by the Department of Justice's newly re-empowered Office of Special Investigations (Section 5505, on p. 108).
(February 28, 2005)
Related Topics: Saudi Arabia, US policy
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