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Will Middle Eastern Protesters Turn to American Courts?

Security forces have reportedly killed more than a thousand people in Libya, several hundred in Egypt, several dozen in Yemen, and a handful in Iraqi Kurdistan. Normally, American courts would not have jurisdiction over these killings, but there is one scenario in which they will: when those giving the orders to murder civilians are also permanent U.S. residents or American citizens.

Dual citizenry is common in the region, and even more so in elite circles in which people seek multiple passports for business purposes. I do not know who among the Libyans, Egyptians, and Yemenis have dual citizenship, but the man who gave the order to fire into demonstrators last week in Iraqi Kurdistan is certainly a permanent resident and, according to several correspondents, an American citizen as well. Talking to some protesters, it seems that the street skirmishes may be only one battle in a larger war against some of the officials for whom there is credible evidence of torture and abuse.



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