Official Criticizes Pan Am's Exclusion Of Iraqi Passengers

February 04, 1991|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- New York City's human rights commissioner said yesterday that Pan American World Airways' new policy of excluding all Iraqis from its flights was "shameful."

Commissioner Dennis deLeon spoke in a telephone interview after the city's Human Rights Commission, which he heads, subpoenaed the company's chief executive over the policy.

Calls to Pan Am requesting comment on the interview were not returned. Earlier, a Pan Am spokeswoman, Elizabeth M. Hlinko, declined to comment on the subpoena.

"Pan Am is pandering to the fears which are present," Mr. deLeon said, "and for a major leader in American industry that is a shameful role."

The commission's spokesman, Lonnie Soury, said it had summoned Pan Am chief executive Thomas G. Plaskett to appear before it because it is looking into the possibility that the policy violates the city's human rights law.

On Thursday, Salan H. Salman, an Iraqi granted political asylum in the United States, filed suit against Pan Am over the policy. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

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