The producer of the Oscar-nominated Syrian documentary Last Men in Aleppo has been denied a visa to travel to the United States and will be unable to attend the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4, Variety reported. Kareem Abeed was reportedly found ineligible for a visa under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The refusal comes in the wake of President Trump’s travel ban on Syria, North Korea, Iran, Chad, Libya, Venezuela, Somalia and Yemen.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released a statement in support of Abeed and other members of the Last Men in Aleppo team who have been denied entry into the US.
Directed by Feras Fayyad, Last Men in Aleppo portrays volunteers of Syrian rescue team The White Helmets, which helps victims after bombings in Aleppo during the Syrian civil war. The movie won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival last year.
The White Helmets co-founder Mahmoud Al-Hatter, who is featured in the movie, will also not be at the ceremony as he has been unable to apply for a Syrian passport after the Assad regime accused his team of having links to terrorist outfit Al Qaeda. The allegations remain unsubstantiated. The Syrian regime had also refused to expedite the visa process for Abeed, making it unlikely that he would be able to reach the country in time for the awards ceremony on March 4 even if his travel document was approved.
In a statement expressing solidarity with the Last Men in Aleppo team, the Academy said, “As supporters of filmmakers – and the human rights of all people – around the globe, we stand in solidarity with Fayyad as well as the film’s producer Kareem Abeed.”