(CN) – Ghanaian police were “unable or unwilling” to protect a Baptist preacher from being persecuted by Muslims, the 9th Circuit ruled, reinstating the Christian convert’s bid for protection in the United States.
Stanley Onusu Afriyie says he was beaten and forced to run for his life from Muslims who were angered by his attempts to convert Ghanaian villagers to Christianity.
Afriyie, leader of a group called Lack of Knowledge My People Perish, began preaching in the streets of Ghana with a microphone after he converted to Christianity in 1999.
He said Muslims who opposed his group chased and attacked him with sticks, beat him unconscious, and eventually murdered three of the group’s four members, along with his sister and his nephew.
One of the members was stabbed to death, and another ambushed and beaten to death the night a third member was killed, Afriyie told immigration officials.
He said Muslim extremists set fire to his sister’s home, killing her and her son because they thought he was staying there.
Afriyie says he fled to the United States because he feared for his life in Ghana.
The immigration judge agreed that Afriyie had suffered religious persecution, but found that the Ghanaian government had done its best to protect him by investigating the murders and asking him to move from villages heavily populated by Muslims.
The judge denied asylum to Afriyie based on his claim that his native country had been “unwilling or unable” to protect him. The Board of Immigration Appeals agreed that “the evidence does not establish that the government of Ghana was unable or unwilling to control the Muslim individuals that attacked the applicant.”
However, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit granted Afriyie’s petition for review, saying immigration officials had ignored crucial evidence showing that Ghanaian police demanded bribes for protection, particularly when it came to protecting Christians.
“Given this state of the credited record, any reasonable factfinder would be compelled to conclude that the Ghanaian police were unable or unwilling to protect Afriyie,” Judge Marsha Berzon wrote for the Seattle-based panel.