APIA: Monday 19 Jan 2009: The Associate Minister of Trade and Commerce, Joe Keil is considering legal action against the United States Government for the embarrassment and ill treatment he received where he was locked up in prison for seven days and held in the United States for up to three months late last year.
Speaking in Parliament this morning, Keil thanked everyone who offered moral support during his ordeal after which all charges were dropped without a proper explanation and he was finally free and managed to return to Samoa on Christmas eve.
Keil however is disappointed that there was no word of apology from the US Immigration Department who alleged that he was illegally using a US passport as basis for the charges against him.
He read out word for a word the relevant section of a two page letter that confirmed his “US citizenship by birth” and that the charges against him have been dropped.
Keil thanked all of the people of Samoa who supported him from the political level where the PM wrote in protest to the Secretary of State Dr. Condolezza Rice and to the US High Court Judge, the Deputy Prime Minister, Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, the leaders of the churches and organizers of the protest march in Apia including the US War veterans of which Keil is one.
Keil believes he was deliberately set up and the absence of an apology following much he had gone through, shows the arrogance of a powerful country that’s why America is not well liked by many people around the world.
Keil served in the United States Air Force for five years and a decorated war veteran who proudly displays his medals during the annual memorial services in Apia.
The President of the US Veterans Association Afoafouvale Patrick Misimoa made an emotional plea for Keils release while he was in custody claiming it was both immoral and unjust.
Keil heads the Pacific countries delegation in trade negotiations with the European Union and he was from one such meeting in Brussles through the United States where he was held up.