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U.S. Says It Had Denied a Visa to Capucci

The State Department said that its U.S. Embassy in Rome denied a visa to Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, the former Melkite Archbishop of Jerusalem, to visit the United States because of his 1974 conviction in Israel for gun smuggling.

State Department spokesman Dean Fischer said that the Emigration and Naturalization Act makes “ineligible” for admission to the United States persons who “advocate or teach violence.” He said that Capucci’s conviction in Israel “renders him ineligible.” Fischer said the decision was made in Rome by a Consular officer there on the basis of an opinion from the State Department.

Capucci, a supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was released from prison at the Vatican’s request on condition that he take no part in anti-Israel activities. He played a prominent role in speaking to American hostages who were held in Teheran.