SAMOAN GOVERNMENT MINISTER WANTS U.S. APOLOGY

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No word from U.S. immigration officials on false arrest

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, January 21, 2009) – Samoa’s Associate Minister of Trade and Commerce, Hans Joachim Keil, says U.S. Immigration Department officials who alleged he was using a US passport illegally haven’t offered an apology for his ordeal.

The Samoan MP had been arrested in September last year 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.

But a US federal court judge dismissed criminal charges against Mr Keil before Christmas, and didn’t specify reasons for dropping the charges.

Speaking in Parliament Monday, Mr Keil thanked everyone who offered moral support during his ordeal and says he is considering legal action against the US Government for his wrongful detention in the US.

The Talamua online news service said Mr Keil expressed disappointment over no apology and read out word for a word the relevant section of a two page letter that confirmed his "US citizenship by birth" and that the charges against him have been dropped.

Mr Keil served in the United States Air Force for five years and is a decorated war veteran who displays his medals at annual memorial services in Apia.

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