A leading anti-corruption figure and political analyst in South Africa who also holds a research post at the University of KwaZulu-Natal was met by armed guards last weekend at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and immediately deported, the Associated Press reported. The man, Adam Habib, is executive director of a program on democracy and governance at South Africa's Human Science Research Council, and is also an honorary research fellow at the university.
Mr. Habib said he was questioned last Saturday at the airport by United States officials about whether he had ties to terrorist organizations, and was then told, without explanation, that his visa had been rescinded. He was in the United States with a group that intended to meet with officials at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Columbia University, the National Institutes of Health, and the World Bank.
Mr. Habib's experience is not unprecedented. A series of foreign academics have had their visas revoked just before traveling to or just as they were arriving in the United States for academic purposes. The most prominent of them is Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss Muslim scholar whose visa was rescinded on vague national-security grounds shortly before he was to have taken a post at the University of Notre Dame. Litigation ensued, and just last month the State Department again denied him a visa, this time citing his $765 donation to groups that provided humanitarian aid to Palestinians (The Chronicle, September 26).
Posted on Oct 25, 06:27 AM