Thursday, November 6, 2008
The Supreme Court on Wednesday considered the fate of a former guard in an Eritrean prison where inmates were tortured and killed. An applicant for asylum, he has said he performed his duties under duress and would have been executed had he tried to quit.
After the former guard, Daniel G. Negusie, escaped to the United States, an immigration judge found that he would face torture were he returned to Eritrea but, citing a 1980 law that bars the government from even considering granting asylum to people who had participated in persecution, denied him asylum.
The question before the Supreme Court was whether that seemingly categorical “persecutor bar” should include an exception for conduct performed under duress. The justices approached the issue from revealingly different perspectives, invoking morality, history and plain English. For the full story, click here.