Canadian faces jail in U.S. for trade with Cuba.
April 2, 2002 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Canadian faces jail in U.S. for trade with Cuba. James Sabzali faces trial on 77 accounts of of conspiracy and of trading with the enemy, nearly half of which relate to buisness conducted when Sabzali was working in Canada. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Poluka concedes that while living in Hamilton the defendant was "technically not subject to jurisdiction.", but maintains that "foreign nationals cannot aid and abet violations of U.S. law." Does this mean the United States has an open licence to prosecute foreigners for acts committed against American laws on foriegn soil?
posted by astirling (15 comments total)
Oops, working link here
posted by astirling at 8:58 AM on April 2, 2002

Gosh, wouldn't it be nice if the USA would just fuck right off once in a while?

And god forbid that the Cubans should have access to clean water. It's eversomuch better to withhold purification technology from them, so the little red bastards can all die of intestinal disease. After all, better dead than red.

posted by five fresh fish at 9:13 AM on April 2, 2002

uh-oh, I guess the war-on-drugs is coming north next, let alone the war-on-terror...
posted by jkaczor at 9:45 AM on April 2, 2002

Geez, another helping of manifest destiny, anyone? I don't see how the US can convict someone for following the laws of their own country from within their own country. My guess is the prosecution is expecting the post 9/11 patriotic surge to overtake reason in that case.

However, the trading with Cuba that occurred while he was in the US would seem like something they could go after him for. I wouldn't sell to Cuba if I lived in the US, even if I am Canadian. If sales to Cuba are 1% of the company business, then it's obvious that the Canadian subsidiary was not set up specifically for Cuban sales - it wouldn't be worth it.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:47 AM on April 2, 2002

hasn't the united states got anything better to do than go after people from other countries based on an antiquated cold war embargo that no longer serves any real purpose?

what FFF said.
posted by bwg at 10:00 AM on April 2, 2002

Does that mean that anyone that has smoked pot in Holland might be facing long jail terms in the US? How about an 18 year old that is frequenting bars in Greece? 20 year olds that have had sex with 16 year olds in Sweden? How about Spanish nationals that go to Cuba for holidays? The list can go on and on... they can't be serious...
posted by talos at 10:08 AM on April 2, 2002

Speaking as someone who is in a country that has an age of consent of 16 and a drinking age of 18, these hypothetical people should go to jail anyway because they're obviously having a lot more fun than me.

I'm interested to see whether someone will defend this ludicrous arrest. Wasn't there a threat of trade embargos against Europe a few years ago for daring to ignore the US' annoyance at Cuba?
posted by Grangousier at 10:15 AM on April 2, 2002

I say Britain should prosecute all American adults for purchasing alcohol after the hour of 11pm.

The morality of America's embargo on Cuba is questionable at best. Fortunately, the rest of the world will have no truck with any such stupidity.
posted by salmacis at 10:18 AM on April 2, 2002

Cuba is evil. He should have stuck to trading with good friendly nations like China.
posted by homunculus at 10:18 AM on April 2, 2002

Did anyone read this article? Half of the counts were committed here in the US. It's the prosecutions case that the half in Canada were performed there in concert with the illegal actions in the US.

I sincerely doubt he would have been prosecuted if there wasn't the American link. It looks like he may have been using the Canadian subsidiary as a front. But since we don't have all the info can we see what the jury has to say about this before we go off?
posted by revbrian at 10:29 AM on April 2, 2002

No, I think we should go off now. It could take months. We'll have lost interest by then.
posted by Grangousier at 10:38 AM on April 2, 2002

Off we go.
posted by euphorb at 12:56 PM on April 2, 2002

Huh? What were we talking about?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:06 PM on April 2, 2002

CBC: "A jury in Philadelphia has found a Canadian businessman guilty of violating the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. James Sabzali, who lives in Philadephia, could face life in prison if convicted under the law which forbids trade with the communist island."
posted by todd at 9:14 AM on April 4, 2002

One just marvels.

Life in prison for selling water purification to those evil red commies.

Whereas murdering someone can get you seven years.

And if you happened to murder them by driving drunk, why you can walk out of the courtroom a free man, because you weren't in your "right" state of mind!

Priorities, priorities.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:21 PM on April 4, 2002

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