Court Tells Judge to Look Beyond Country Reports

     (CN) – An immigration judge relied too heavily on the State Department’s country reports in denying asylum to a man who claimed to have been tortured in Guinea for his involvement in a political opposition group, a federal appeals court in New York ruled.

     Mamadou Diallo claimed that his membership in the Rally of the People of Guinea party led to multiple arrests and tortures, since the RPG opposes the government of President Lansana Conte.
     The 2nd Circuit agreed with Diallo that the immigration judge placed too much weight on small discrepancies between Diallo’s testimony and the State Department’s country reports.
     For example, “the country report’s mention of two-week detentions does not undermine petitioner’s testimony about his own prolonged incarceration or those of his uncle and father,” Judge Calabresi wrote. “Country reports cannot be expected to capture the details of every abuse in a given country.”
     The court returned the case to the immigration judge, but noted that “such a remand does not give a petitioner an unwarranted second bite at the apple.”

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