Supporters of fugitive chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer
sought help from a Tokyo court yesterday to win his
release from Japanese detention and allow him to settle
Lawyers for Fischer, 61, said they had
urged the Tokyo District Court to order the release of
the eccentric former world champion from the detention
centre near Tokyo.
"It's clear that there's no justifiable reason for
the Japanese government to prevent him from going to
Iceland, from the legal perspective and the perspective
of practice," lawyer Masako Suzuki told reporters.
A habeas corpus petition demanding Fischer's release
was filed Wednesday in Tokyo District Court by Fischer's
fiancée Miyoko Watai and John Bosnitch, the leader of a
group formed to fight for Fischer's release from
"Now, we want the body. That's what habeas corpus
means," Bosnitch said.
Fischer was arrested in Japan last July for
travelling on an invalid US passport. He had been moving
around Eastern Europe and Asia to avoid deportation to
the US, where he faces federal charges of violating
sanctions by playing a chess match in Serbia in 1992.
He has been offered a new home in Iceland, where he
won the world title in 1972 in a classic Cold War
encounter with Soviet champion Boris Spassky, but it
remains unclear whether he will be allowed to leave
Japan to move there.
Miyoko Watai, 59, a four-time Japan women's chess
champion and a vocal supporter of Fischer, voiced her
anger over the Japanese government's handling of the
"In the detention centre, he has only TV and nothing
else to do, (he is) something like a chicken in the box,
nothing to do. Nothing to do," Watai, with tears in her
eyes, told reporters.
"He has endured such a life for almost six months. I
want to protest against the Japanese government who just
obey the US government. It's not fair. It's not freedom.
Please help us." Watai, acting head of the Japan Chess
Association, has said she plans to marry Fischer.