Source  The Chronicle: Daily News Blog:

A prominent Iraqi medical professor was unable to obtain a visa to enter the United States to give a long-planned lecture on Friday at the University of Washington.

The professor, Riyadh Lafta, teaches medicine at Baghdad’s Al-Mustansiriya University. With researchers from the Johns Hopkins University, he was a co-author of an October 2006 article in the British medical journal The Lancet that continues to be a source of controversy. It estimated that more than 650,000 Iraqi civilians — many more than officially reported — had died as a result of the American-led invasion.

When the date for Dr. Lafta’s lecture drew near and he had still not received his visa, the University of Washington arranged for him to deliver his talk at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, British Columbia, and to have it broadcast to the meeting at the American institution, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. But Britain refused him a transit visa for a four-hour stop in London to change planes.

A U.S. State Department spokesman denied that the government had intentionally barred Dr. Lafta. “Mandatory visa-processing requirements could not be completed in time for Dr. Lafta’s planned travel,” the official said in a prepared statement. The topic of the lecture was elevated cancer levels in children in southern Iraq. —Burton Bollag

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