Rwanda Government receives a Stateless Person from United States

Rwanda government accepts to receive a Stateless Person from US; File Photo

The government of Rwanda has announced it has received Adham Amin Hassoun, a stateless person who was relocated from the United States.

According to a statement released by the Rwandan government, Mr Hassoun was relocated to Rwanda earlier this week after completing his prison sentence in the US, in accordance with the 1954 Convention on the status of Stateless Persons.

The Convention defines a Stateless Person as someone who is not considered as a national by any State.

The Rwandan government notes that Mr Hassoun willingly accepted to be relocated and settled in Rwanda.

In the statement, Rwanda also claims it has previously received Stateless Persons from various parts of the world and retaliates its commitment to receiving and settling people who are rendered stateless.

Hassoun’s Statelessness:

Adham Amin Hassoun was a convict incarcerated in the United States as a conspirator of José Padilla, an American initially held as an enemy combatant for supplying aid to terrorists.

Hassoun, a Lebanese-born Palestinian who first moved to the United States in the late 1980s, was first arrested in 2002 for overstaying his visa. In August 2007, he was convicted, along with Padilla, of conspiracy and material support charges and sentenced to a prison term of 15 years, 8 months.

Hassoun was charged in connection with his financing of Padilla’s trip to Egypt and Prosecutors alleged that he set up a local office of the charity Benevolence International, which was used as a front for al Qaeda.

When Hassoun finished his sentence, in 2017, as a non-citizen, he would normally have been deported but no country, including Lebanon, the country of his birth, agreed to accept him saying he is not a Lebanese citizen.

Efforts to confirm his nationality were futile as Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials unsuccessfully sought travel documents for (Hassoun) from Egypt, Iraq, Somalia, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as from three unidentified countries.

However, Mr. Hassoun had lived peacefully in the United States for more than a decade before his arrest.

Since he was now stateless, he continued to be imprisoned. In November 2019 the Trump administration called upon a previously unused part of The Patriot Act to imprison Hassoun for the rest of his life, in spite of having served his sentence.

A legal battle to hold him indefinitely stalled until they found a country willing to accept him. He was released from a detention facility in Batavia, New York on July 22, 2020.



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