US government denies visa for Iraq war critic

The U.S. government claimed that a South African scholar "engaged in a terrorist activity" and denied a visa for him. He disagrees with this accusation. The real reason of denial - he has been an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq.

Adam Habib, a deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Johannesburg, has denounced the Iraq war and the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston in September, the American Civil Liberties Union said U.S. authorities were letting his visa application languish because of his political views.

The State Department formally denied his visa late last month, citing terrorist activity as the reason.

Officials gave no details of the alleged terrorist activity in an Oct. 26 letter sent to Habib. The ACLU filed an amended lawsuit Wednesday, asking the State Department to substantiate its claim about Habib.

"We are really demanding that the government come forward with a factual basis for what it's doing or otherwise, grant him a visa," said Melissa Goodman, a staff attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project.

A spokeswoman for the State Department had no immediate comment Wednesday.

Habib, 42, lived in the United States from 1993-95 while earning a doctorate in political science from City University of New York.

He said he had traveled to the United States without any problems until October 2006, when he was questioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials about his political views and was asked whether he belonged to or supported any terrorist organizations.

His visa was revoked, but he reapplied in May.

Habib could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

In an interview with The Associated Press in September, he said: "I'm critical of the American government. I've written negative things about their policies, that I thought their approach to the Iraq war was a disaster, but I'm confident that I can't be linked to things like terrorism. That is not what my politics is about."

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Author`s name Angela Antonova