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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 19:01 GMT
Iceland to give Fischer passport
Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer
Fischer's troubles began after his Yugoslav rematch with Spassky
An Icelandic commission has agreed to give citizenship to fugitive chess champion, Bobby Fischer, which may lead to his release from detention in Japan.

Mr Fischer is fighting extradition to the US where he is wanted for violating economic sanctions on account of a game he played in former Yugoslavia in 1992.

Bjarni Benediktsson of a parliamentary board reviewing the request said the citizenship would be given next week.

Chess fans in Iceland have lobbied to have Mr Fischer granted citizenship.

Marriage offer

The chess star won a championship there in 1972, when he beat Boris Spassky of the then Soviet Union.
This is great news
Fischer fan in Iceland

"They had been waiting on confirmation from Japan that Fischer would be let go if he had Icelandic citizenship," said one of Mr Fischer's supporters, Saemundur Palsson.

"This is great news."

MPs in Iceland voted last month against granting Fischer citizenship, offering him instead a special foreigners' passport and rights to residence.

Japan, however, had refused to release the chess champion, who had been on the run for 10 years.

Mr Fischer was taken into custody by the Japanese authorities in July for allegedly trying to leave Japan on an invalid US passport.

He faces a 10-year jail term in the US if found guilty of defying the economic sanctions.

Japanese opposition politicians, who claim the government is acting at the behest of the US, have protested against Mr Fischer's lengthy detention.

Before he was taken into custody, he had managed to live undetected in Japan for three years, sometimes travelling abroad.

While in detention, he become engaged to the head of the Japan Chess Association, Miyoko Watai, but the authorities are still studying their marriage application.




SEE ALSO:
Fischer 'must be deported to US'
15 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Fischer demands to go to Iceland
24 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Fischer begins legal challenge
02 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Court delays Fischer deportation
08 Sep 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Fischer fails to halt deportation
20 Aug 04 |  Asia-Pacific


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