15 Dec 2008

Relief in Samoa after US drops immigration charges against Cabinet Minister Keil

2:43 pm on 15 December 2008

Samoan supporters of MP Hans Joachim Keil have expressed relief over the dismissal of immigration fraud charges he was facing in the United States.

A motion filed by the US attorney's office in Springfield, Missouri, did not specify why the charges were dropped, except to say that in the interests of justice, the Court was asked to dismiss the case without prejudice.

Mr Keil was arrested on September the 10th and charged with one count of falsely and willfully representing himself to be a U.S. citizen and one of willfully and knowingly using and attempting to use a U.S. passport.

Our correspondent in Samoa, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says many people are relieved Mr Keil will be home by Christmas.

"'You know according to Joe Keil speaking from the US, as there were interviews with the local media here, he's very excited and very thankful to the people here in Samoa and all the support that's been given to him since he was there for the last three months and he said the motion to drop his charges was a Christmas present for him and the family."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia.

Last month hundreds turned out for a "Free Joe March" to lobby for his release and to present a petition to the US embassy in Apia.