Posted: 2:16 am ET
On October 13, 2015, the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California ordered the State Department to return the U.S. passport of Yemeni-American Mosed Shaye Omar which was revoked “based on the involuntary statement he provided at the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a on January 23, 2013.” (See Court orders @StateDept to return Yemeni-American’s improperly revoked U.S.passport). In February 2016, the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California issued a cross motions for summary judgment: “This lawsuit presents the question of whether the United States government may revoke a United States citizen’s passport based solely on a purported “confession” that the citizen did not write, dictate, read, or have read to him, but did in fact sign. On the record before the Court, the answer is no.” (see more Omar v. Kerry, et.al: Passport Revocation “Arbitrary and Capricious,” New Hearing Ordered Within 60 Days).
On October 5, 2016, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California asked to drop the case “without prejudice.” We’re wondering how many more of these revocation cases would mow be dropped and sealed in court.
Federal prosecutors — acting abruptly and without public explanation — have moved to drop a controversial criminal passport fraud case that critics alleged stemmed from coercive interrogations at the U.S. embassy in Yemen.
Earlier this year, a grand jury in San Francisco indicted Mosed Omar on passport fraud charges linked to a statement he signed during a 2012 visit to the U.S. diplomatic post in the unstable Middle Eastern nation.
Thursday afternoon, prosecutors submitted a brief court filing asking to drop the criminal case “without prejudice,” meaning it could be refiled. U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer will need to approve the dismissal of the case.
Spokesmen for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco did not respond to messages seeking an explanation for the sudden move.
In response to a query Thursday from POLITICO, a spokesman for State Inspector General Steve Linick confirmed that an inquiry is underway into the allegations about improper passport revocations
“In June 2016, State OIG’s Office of Evaluations and Special Projects initiated a review of the Department’s processes of passport confiscations and revocations at the US Embassy Sanaa, Yemen,” spokesman Doug Welty said. He offered no additional details on the review.
If the case against Omar went forward, prosecutors might have been obligated to turn over to the defense some or all records of the IG review. That prospect may have contributed to the proposed dismissal, but there was no direct indication.
- Coalition of Civil Rights Groups Seek State/OIG Investigation Into US Embassy Yemen’s Passport Revocations (Jan 2016)
- Why Are Court Cases Related to US Passports and Immigrant Visas in Yemen and Pakistan Sealed? (Nov 19, 2015)
- Court orders @StateDept to return Yemeni-American’s improperly revoked U.S.passport (Oct 14, 2015)
- US Embassy Yemen: Revocation of U.S. Passports, a Growing Trend?) Jan 13, 2014
- Stranded in Yemen: Americans left to find own way out, but exactly how many more AmCits are left there? (Apr 21, 2015)
- New Travel Warning for Yemen — Don’t Come; If In Country, Leave! But Some Can’t Leave (Jul 25, 2014)
- IOM Seeks $10M Initial Funds For Humanitarian Evacuation of 11,000+ Fm Yemen, And Wassup With the F-77? (Apr 7, 2015)
- For U.S. Citizens in Yemen, a New Website and a New Hashtag Shows Up: #StuckInYemen (Apr 6, 2015)
- State Dept Suspends US Embassy Yemen Operations, Relocates Staff Until Further Notice (Feb 11, 2015)
- U.S. Embassy Yemen Now on Evacuation … No, on Temporary Reduction of Staff Status (Sept 25, 2014)