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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Immigration Judge Chided for ‘Conjecture’

(CN) - An immigration judge "had no basis" to reject evidence corroborating a Belarusian woman's claim that she was raped by four policemen in her native country because of her political activism, the 4th Circuit ruled.

Hanna Maynenka claimed that Belarusian police forced her and a friend into a car following a political rally and drove them to a forest, where the women were raped.

Maynenka is a member of Zubr, a Belarusian youth opposition group that promotes freedom and democracy in the authoritarian regime.

In her application for U.S. asylum, Marynenka submitted a doctor's report of the exam performed the morning after the alleged sexual assault. The document bore a "Gomel City Clinic" seal.

The immigration judge "had no basis, other than conjecture, for rejecting the document on the ground that it was not written on printed letterhead," Judge M. Blane Michael wrote for the three-judge panel in Richmond, Va.

The federal appeals court granted Marynenka's petition for review and remanded.

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