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Faulting Judge, Panel Overturns Deportation of Abused Eritrean

An immigration judge is faulted for not believing the East African's claims of torture by his fellow soldiers for protesting the war with Sudan.

April 22, 2005|From a Times Staff Writer

Ruling that an immigration judge had misinterpreted clear evidence of torture, a federal appeals court on Thursday ordered authorities not to deport an Eritrean immigrant left with permanent injuries after being severely beaten because he protested Eritrea's war with Sudan. The East African also was deemed eligible for asylum.

Ukashu Nuru, 32, a former soldier in the Eritrean army, testified in Immigration Court in 2001 that he had fled Eritrea in 2000 after being tortured by the Eritrean military for 25 days.

Although Los Angeles Immigration Judge John Walsh found Nuru to be a credible witness, he denied his petition to remain in the U.S. under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Its rules forbid a state from deporting someone if there is substantial evidence that the individual would be in danger of being tortured in that country.

The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the immigration judge's opinion in 2003, but on reviewing Nuru's case, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals strongly disagreed.

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