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Old 03-24-2005, 02:51 PM   #1
Saxifrage
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Fischer leaves Japan for Iceland



After his release Fischer went straight to Tokyo airport

Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer has left Japan for Iceland following his release from an eight-month detention.

The 62-year-old took an aeroplane to Copenhagen, from where he plans to fly to Iceland. The country has granted him a passport and citizenship.

The American is wanted in the US for breaking international sanctions by playing a match in Yugoslavia in 1992.

He was detained in July trying to leave Japan using a revoked US passport.

"I won't be free until I get out of Japan," Mr Fischer told reporters as he arrived at Tokyo's Narita airport.




Why Iceland's fond of Fischer


"This was not an arrest. It was a kidnapping cooked up by Bush and Koizumi," he said, referring to US President George W Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Mr Fischer's lawyer, Masako Suzuki, said the chess icon had "smiled from the bottom of his heart when he boarded the plane".

Mr Fischer was granted Icelandic citizenship after a vote in the country's parliament on Monday.

The former champion has many supporters in Iceland, after playing a world championship match there in 1972 at the height of the Cold War, beating the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky.

Japan's justice ministry decided to let Mr Fischer travel to Iceland after being shown documents proving Mr Fischer had been granted Icelandic citizenship, Japanese reports said.

The US said it was disappointed at the move. "Mr Fischer is a fugitive from justice," said a US state department spokesman.

Scuffle with guards

The reclusive Mr Fischer had lived undetected in Japan for a number of years with fiancee Miyoko Watai, a former Japanese chess champion.

He was arrested and threatened with deportation when he tried to leave Japan for the Philippines last July using a US passport that had allegedly been revoked.

Since then he has mounted a string of protests, including claims for political asylum, in attempts to avoid being repatriated.

His supporters say he has been under heavy stress in jail. He was held for four days in solitary confinement earlier this month after scuffling with guards in an argument over a boiled egg.

Mr Fischer's supporters say the US deportation order is politically motivated.

The American exile angered many of his fellow countrymen when he went on Philippine radio on 11 September 2001, applauding the attacks on the US on that day and launching into an anti-Semitic diatribe.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asi...ic/4374811.stm
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