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Al-Saher v. Immigration and Naturalization Service

268 F.3d 1143 (2001)

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Al-Saher v. Immigration and Naturalization Service

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

268 F.3d 1143 (2001)

Facts

Mudher Jassim Mohamed Al-Saher (plaintiff), a citizen of Iraq, had served in the Iraqi military from 1984 to 1992. Although Al-Saher was a Shiite Muslim from Al-Bashra, he led the military to believe that he was a Sunni Muslim from Baghdad because he feared being discriminated against. In 1997, Al-Saher was arrested after the census his father completed revealed that he had misrepresented his religion and birthplace. While imprisoned, Al-Saher faced extensive beatings, which he believed to involve a thick electrical cable. Al-Saher continued to experience beatings until his father was able to pay someone within Saddam Hussein’s office in exchange for Al-Saher’s release. Al-Saher was released approximately one month after he was imprisoned and was told that if he spoke about his experience, then he would be imprisoned again. Al-Saher returned to his job working for the Iraqi government but was arrested again after inquiring about the location of a fence he had been instructed to build for the president. He received beatings again, which he described as more severe than the beatings he had previously received, and was burned with cigarettes. He was released a little over a week later. In 1998, he was arrested for a third time after he was heard discussing how well the Iraqi elite eat while others remain hungry. About five days later, Al-Saher escaped. He fled Iraq and entered the United States at the Los Angeles International Airport. Once at the airport, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (defendant) issued a notice to appear in front of an immigration judge to begin the removal process. Al-Saher then applied for asylum and withholding of removal on the ground that under the Convention Against Torture he was entitled to stay in the United States. The immigration judge denied his application for asylum and withholding of removal. Al-Saher appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA dismissed the appeal, and Al-Saher filed a petition with the court for a review of the BIA’s dismissal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hug, J.)

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