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Asylum Case Appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals

Published: Sep 8, 2009 By: Matthew L. Kolken Source: My Source
My client fled his country with his family because his daughter was kidnapped on Christmas day as a form of intimidation and punishment because of his political activities.

Prior to the kidnapping my client had received threatening anonymous letters demanding that he stop his political activities or he and his family would be punished, and that his daughter would be kidnapped.

On the day of the kidnapping the kidnappers did not leave a ransom note, or make any demands for money. My client’s daughter was released by her captors approximately one week later. The Police never apprehended the kidnappers. The family left because they were afraid that the family was in grave danger because the kidnappers remained at large.

At trial before the Immigration Court in Buffalo, New York, my client credibly testified that the kidnapping was related to his political activities, and that he has concerns that the police were involved with the kidnapping of his daughter. My client expressed his fears that if the family were to return home he and his family may be killed, that there is no part of his country where he and his family could safely reside, and that wherever he would go he would fear for his family’s life.

To corroborate his claim for asylum my client produced the following documentation:

• A copy of a threatening letter indicating that if he did not resign from politics his house would be blown up and his child kidnapped;
• A copy of the Police report he filed relating to the kidnapping;
• A copy of a statement released to the press that the kidnapping was politically motivated and was caused by my client’s political activities;
• A copy of a witness report from the District Attorney’s Office;
• A copy of a hospital report confirming that my client’s daughter suffered psychological trauma as a result of the kidnapping;
• A copy of a police report that indicated that my client’s daughter was kidnapped for political intimidation, and not for economic gain; and
• Affidavits from individuals who were able to corroborate my client’s political activism, and confirm the legitimacy of his fears of returning to his home country.

The application for asylum was denied by the immigration Court because the Judge inexplicably found that my client did not establish a nexus between the kidnapping of his daughter, and his political activities. The Immigration Judge was silent on the issue of credibility. We appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

The Board of Immigration Appeals remanded the case back to the Immigration Court for a specific determination on credibility. Once back before the Court, the Immigration Judge ruled that my client was credible, but again reaffirmed his previous ruling that my client failed to establish a link between the kidnapping and his political activism. We appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals again.

The Board then explicitly adopted the IJ’s determination that all of my client’s testimony was credible and true, yet affirmed and adopted the IJ’s decision based on my client’s failure to establish a nexus between the kidnapping and his politics.

I have filed a Petition with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that challenges the legality of the denial of my client’s application for asylum. My brief has been filed, and we have received the Government’s brief in response. We are anxiously awaiting a decision because if we lose this appeal my client will be forced to return to a country where his child was kidnapped, and where the kidnappers remain at large. Wish us luck.
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