Former UN Worker Gets|Second Shot at Asylum | Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Former UN Worker Gets|Second Shot at Asylum

(CN) - The 9th Circuit on Friday revived the asylum petition of a Mongolian woman who says Communist Party agents threatened her for years with imprisonment, rape and torture for refusing to spy on her United Nations co-workers.

Dashdavaa Javhlan was working for the United Nations Development Program in Mongolia in 2000 when secret police agents allegedly approached her on her way to and from work and threatened her with assault, imprisonment, rape and death because she refused to spy for them.

She said the agents wanted her to provide information about U.N. representatives.

On a 2-1 vote, the appellate panel in Pasadena, Calif., ordered immigration authorities to reconsider their refusal to grant Javhlan's applications for asylum and withholding of removal, finding that she had presented compelling evidence that she would be persecuted if returned to Mongolia.

Javhlan, whose Buddhist Monk grandfather was tortured and killed by agents of the communist government in 1937, offered equally convincing testimony that she had long been a target of her country's secret police, the majority ruled.

She testified that a year before fleeing Mongolia with her husband, the stress of her predicament caused a partial stroke in the left part of her face.

"The evidence demonstrates that Javhlan suffered multiple in-person confrontations with communist secret police agents, and that she was frequently threatened over a period of years with assault, imprisonment, rape, and death because she refused to act as a spy for them," Judge Harry Pregerson wrote.

"The threats by the secret police, and the mental anguish and physical paralysis that Javhlan suffered as a result, constitute persecution," he added. "We find that the cumulative effect of these events qualifies as an offensive suffering or harm that rises to the level of persecution."

But dissenting Judge Sandra Ikuta found the evidence of persecution less compelling.

"Neither the secret police nor anyone else ever acted on the vague, nonspecific threats reported by Javhlan," Ikuta wrote. "As the [immigration judge] noted, Javhlan and her extended family in Mongolia lived quite normal lives. In fact, what Javhlan reported are the quintessential empty threats which we have held do not amount to persecution."

The majority found Javhlan eligible for asylum, granted her request to halt deportation and remanded her petition to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

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