(CN) – An immigration board should not have denied asylum to an Ivory Coast woman who said she witnessed the kidnapping of her father at the hands of government sympathizers, the 3rd Circuit ruled.
During the rebellion against the government of the Ivory Coast in 2002, petitioner Fatouma Camara allegedly witnessed the kidnapping of her father, an opposition party member, at the hands of pro-government civilian forces.
She testified that a group of men dressed in black and armed with rifles ambushed her home in October 2002, abducting her father and promising to return to make Camara and the rest of her family “disappear.”
She fled to the United States in December 2006.
An immigration judge denied her asylum petition – a decision the Board of Immigration Appeals upheld – because Camara did not personally suffer at the hands of the Ivory Coast government.
But the three-judge panel in Philadelphia said Camara “witnessed the kidnapping of a parent by those who ‘directly and unambiguously threatened her with harm as well.'” Thus, she had a “well-founded fear of future persecution,” wrote U.S. District Judge Pollak, who participated in the panel decision.
The court sent Camara’s case back to the board.