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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Abductee Granted |Asylum Review

NEW YORK (CN) - The 2nd Circuit remanded the asylum petition of a computer systems expert who was abducted at gunpoint by Colombian guerrillas who wanted her to set up a computer network for their terrorist organization.

Maria Del Pilar Delgado claimed she told her captors, members of the anti-government Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, that she "do(es) not support any organization that deals in murder." FARC has allegedly been responsible for numerous civilian deaths, political murders and forced disappearances.

When the computer equipment failed to arrive, FARC released Pilar temporarily, giving her enough time to flee to the United States. She arrived in 2002 and sought asylum, withholding of removal and relief under the Conventions Against Torture.

The immigration judge found Pilar credible, but denied relief because she was kidnapped for her computer knowledge, and not because of her political opinion or another protected ground. The judge also denied her relief under the CAT, saying the FARC had not acted with the consent of the Colombian government. The Bureau of Immigration Appeals affirmed.

But the IJ and the BIA overlooked the fact that Pilar resisted and was targeted for her betrayal, the circuit ruled. It also remanded her CAT claim, saying the BIA and IJ used an "inappropriately stringent" standard requiring Pilar to show that the government had consented to torture. See ruling.

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