Tuesday, June 5, 2007
At Opinio Juris, Julian Ku notes the arrest yesterday of a number of persons for, among other things, violation of the Neutrality Act, 18 USC 960, for allegedly conspiring to prepare and take part in a military expedition against the Government of Laos. (See here for the criminal complaint and here for the Department of Justice press release.) Ku comments on the Neutrality Act allegation: "It is not, needless to say, invoked all that often." True enough, but this is at least the third set of arrests of persons for engaging in Southeast Asian insurgencies in the last six years and the second involving the Neutrality Act. Van Duc Vo, of the California-based Government of Free Vietnam, was arrested in October 2001 and charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the United States, in violation of 18 USC 2332a(b). (The charges against Vo were later dropped when the Government of Thailand requested his extradition. See here for the Ninth Circuit decision upholding the extradition certification.) And Yasith Chhun, the president of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters (also based in California), was arrested on June 1, 2005, for, among other things, violation of the Neutrality Act. (See here for the Department of Justice press release.) Interestingly, the Neutrality Act has also been used recently in terrorism prosecutions, including those of Ali Al-Timimi (see indictment here) and Masoud Ahmad Khan and others (see Fourth Circuit opinion here affirming the convictions).