15 Dec 2008

Samoa MP Keil's lawyer says dropped charges vindicate client's claims

11:34 am on 15 December 2008

The lawyer of Samoa MP, Hans Joachim Keil, says the US government's decision to drop charges against his client vindicates Mr Keil's claims he is and has always has been a U.S. citizen.

A United States federal court judge dismissed the criminal charges against Mr Keil, based on a motion filed by the U.S attorney's office in Springfield, Missouri.

The Samoan MP was arrested in September and charged with one count of falsely and willfully representing himself to be a U.S. citizen and one count of willfully and knowingly using and attempting to use a U.S. passport.

The government's motion filed in court on Friday does not say the reasons for dropping the charges, except to say that in the interest of justice, asked the court to dismiss the case without prejudice.

Mr Keil's U.S. based attorney, John Kizer, has welcomed the decision.

"We have always maintained he was a citizen of the United States and our position is that this kind of validates his claim that all along he was a US citizen."

John Kizer says Mr Keil will be back in Samoa before Christmas.