Cleaver Denied U.S. Passport


Fifth Estate # 96, January 8-21, 1970

ALGIERS, Algeria (LNS)—Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther Party Minister of Information, has had his request for a U.S. passport denied.

Conrad Drascher, a U.S. diplomat acting for the State Department, denied Cleaver a passport, offering instead papers good for a one-way passage to the States plus plane fare with immediate arrest at port of entry guaranteed.

“All I want is a paper document of identification like everyone else is entitled to,” says Eldridge, who is facing a Federal charge of “unlawful flight to avoid confinement after conviction for assault with intent to murder.”

The charge stems from the incident in April 1968 when the Oakland pigs attacked three cars of Panthers. Panther Bobby Hutton was killed in the battle that followed.

Cleaver has offered, through his San Francisco attorneys, to return to the U.S. if he is given assurance that his liberty on parole will not be disturbed pending or during trial. “I have no intention,” says Cleaver in a press release from Algiers, “of being arrested either in Babylon or anywhere else in the world. This is what this whole thing is about.”

Cleaver explained that he wanted the passport because he was “very concerned about what’s happening to his brothers and sisters in Babylon.”

Charles Garry, Cleaver’s lawyer in San Francisco, says, “The situation is no different than before. If he could come back and stand trial without going to jail first, he would come back. But one more leader in jail won’t help. One thing the Panthers don’t need more of is martyrs.”