Friday, June 03, 2011

Kuwait: Obama Administration Urged To Act On U.S. Muslim Denied Passport by Embassy in Kuwait

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations

A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on the Obama administration to return the passport of an American Muslim citizen in Kuwait, which was seized by U.S. embassy officials in February.

SEE: US Citizen Stuck for Months in Kuwait (AP)

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the embassy's refusal to return the passport amounted to "extrajudicial denaturalization."

According to Aziz Nouhaili, embassy officials told him they were considering making a request that he be denaturalized and that he would not receive his passport until the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made a determination on that matter.

In an April meeting with an embassy official, the Muslim citizen was reportedly told he "should stop thinking of himself as an American" and indicated that it would be more accurate to "consider himself denaturalized."

CAIR is calling on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to order that the passport be given back to the American Muslim citizen "for the singular purpose of returning to the United States" to deal with the matter.

The letter to Secretary Clinton from CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas stated in part:

"Mr. Nouhaili's account raises concerns that the United States is unlawfully attempting to effect an extrajudicial denaturalization of an American citizen. Because Mr. Nouhaili is an American citizen and has the documentation to prove it, these actions amount to a gross deprivation of Mr. Nouhaili's Fifth Amendment right to due process as well as a violation of his absolute right as an American citizen to return to the United States. Simply stated, there is no lawful basis upon which the United States can deny Mr. Nouhaili the ability to return to his country of citizenship.

"American citizenship is too important to be subject to the whims of low level bureaucrats. If there are any concerns about my client's citizenship, he has the right to have those concerns addressed through the judicial process once he returns to the United States. Indeed, the Supreme Court made clear in Fedorenko v. United States that in order to denaturalize a citizen the United States must provide in federal court 'evidence justifying revocation of citizenship [that is] 'clear, unequivocal, and convincing.' Until that happens, Mr. Nouhaili retains all the rights of a citizen, which include the right to return to his country of citizenship."