DEPORTATION OF ZUNDEL FROM U.S. CALLED ILLEGAL
SEVIERVILLE, TENNESSEE (May 7, 2003) -- The United States
acted illegally to deport Ernst Zundel from his home in Tennessee,
and his case represents an abuse of executive power and will be fully
pursued in the federal courts, says his U.S. legal team.
Zundel is a widely-known controversial figure who was
prosecuted in Canada for "spreading false news" and whose conviction
was ultimately overturned by that country's Supreme Court in 1992.
He is now back in Canada, in prison and facing imminent deportation
to Germany as a result of his deportation from the United States in
Canadian government officials on May 1 certified that he
poses a threat to Canada's national security, but his lead attorney
in the United States, Boyd W. Venable III, says that Zundel should
have never been taken to Canada to begin with.
"Zundel had been living with his wife peaceably in Tennessee
for almost three years, awaiting immigration processing," says
Venable. "He posed a threat to no one. An FBI agent had even told
him his speech was protected in the U.S."
Venable says that in order to try to justify Zundel's
deportation the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service had to
have either "lost" or destroyed or disregarded two separate letters
that Zundel's immigration attorney wrote to INS, while Zundel was
waiting for an interview on the petition filed for him by his wife,
United States citizen Ingrid Rimland Zundel. One of these letters
was sent U.S. "certified mail" and its receipt by INS was
acknowledged in writing. INS says it has no record of the letters
and that Zundel "abandoned" his immigration case by not appearing for
an interview, but Venable says Zundel's immigration attorney took
routine measures to have the interview rescheduled.
"It is hard to see this as another case of INS bungling,"
says Venable. Venable says that immigration law experts who he has
consulted with say that it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that
Zundel was targeted for his political views--"they are telling me
essentially that his immigration arrest was contrived and that the
case sets off alarm bells of national dimensions, particularly in
view of other acts being taken in the name of national security."
While the Canadian media have reported that Zundel was
removed from the U.S. because he "missed a hearing" or that his
"visa" had expired or that he overstayed his permitted stay, none of
those accounts are correct, says Venable. Until the day of his
arrest Zundel was recognized as lawfully present in the U.S. since he
was waiting for a duly-rescheduled interview for permanent residence,
based on his marriage.
Moreover, Zundel never needed a visa to enter the U.S. or
remain there, says Venable, since he had been originally admitted to
the U.S. on a "visa waiver" program applicable to German citizens,
and then in May 2000 had been waved through a border crossing at
Niagara Falls like an ordinary visa-exempt Canadian, and had never
left because of his marriage.
That is part of the story detailed in an appellate brief
filed by Venable with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in
mid-April. No deadline has been sent for the response of the United
States government. Venable says he received direct and indirect
assistance in the federal appeal from experienced immigration
Venable says he remains shocked at what happened in February
to Zundel, who lived nearby. "With no warning whatsoever, five INS
agents and local authorities appeared at Zundel's home, arrested him
without a warrant, did not allow him to go back into the house, did
not allow him to call a lawyer, and he was deported to Canada less
than two weeks later. I didn't believe this was possible in the
United States and I still can't believe it."
Although he filed an emergency request for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus in federal court in Knoxville, Venable says the court
dismissed the case with a terse explanation that there were no
grounds for reviewing the INS action. Venable says that decision is
clearly incorrect, especially since there was nothing in the federal
court's file to show the judge why Zundel was being deported without
a hearing. The appeal to the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati is based on
that erroneous decision, he says.
Zundel's wife Ingrid (Rimland) as a child experienced
firsthand the battlegrounds of World War II in Russia and later
Germany. Her father was taken away by the Russian secret police and
she never saw him again. She fled with her family and others in her
Mennonite community to Germany and later to South America.
"Am I going to lose my husband for life--because he holds
politically incorrect opinions? Because he speaks and writes as his
conscience dictates?" she asks.
Rimland says her husband is a pacifist and a gentle man who
is trying to address the hate that has been directed at Germans since
World War II. "Can a brutal agency simply snatch my husband away
from me without an explanation? Is this still America? Is the U.S.
Constitution still in force? Is the Bill of Rights still in
operation--or is it merely a platitude? Am I back in a dictatorship
the likes of which I had tried to outrun as a child?"
Venable says that he and his legal team are trying to
interest the American Civil Liberties Union and other academics and
civil libertarians in the case. To date no one has stepped forward
to assist--perhaps because Zundel is such a reviled figure, he says.
Several national Jewish groups have labeled Zundel as a "Holocaust
denier" for his views on events of World War II, which include the
view that practically all of the Jews who died in concentration camps
died from illness and, toward the end of the war, from
starvation--not from gassing. Crematoria were used to dispose of
diseased corpses for public health reasons, according to Zundel.
Zundel has written that powerful Jewish groups have fostered
the propaganda of mass gassings and sought to repress contrary
evidence in order to serve their own post-war interests.
"In a free nation someone has to speak up for even the person
who has the most unpopular or politically incorrect views," states
Venable. "Zundel is not advocating violence. Regardless of whether
you agree or disagree with Zundel's views, he is supposed to have the
right to express himself without armed officers coming to his door to
take him away. We hope the Sixth Circuit will agree."
For further information and to update this story contact:
Boyd W. Venable III
Law Office of Boyd W. Venable, III
121 Commerce Street
Sevierville, TN 37864
(865) 908-3042 (fax)
Ingrid Rimland Zundel
3152 Parkway, Suite 13, PMB 109
(865) 774-7758 (fax)
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