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In the matter of: XXX XXX, Respondent. ) ) ) ) ) )

A xxx-xxx-xxx

Judge Carlos Cuevas

PRE-TRIAL MEMORANDUM OF LAW AND FACTS IN SUPPORT OF XXX XXXS I-589 APPLICATION FOR ASYLUM AND WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL Respondent, XXX, by and through her attorneys, Reed Smith LLP in connection with the National Immigrant Justice Center, respectfully submits this Pre-Trial Memorandum in support of her application for asylum pursuant to Section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA or the Act), 8 U.S.C. 1158(a)(1) or, in the alternative, for withholding of removal pursuant to INA 241(b), 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3), and 8 C.F.R. 208.3(b), and under the Convention Against Torture, Pub. L. 105-277, H.R. 4328, 105th Cong. (1998). As set forth below, the facts, as well as the statutes, case law, agency reports, and testimony support a grant of asylum. INTRODUCTION Ms. XXX, an Ethiopian citizen and member of the Oromo Liberation Front (the OLF), seeks asylum and withholding of removal on the basis of nationality, social and political persecution. Ms. XXX entered the United States on July 3, 2004 on a B-2 visa, which she obtained before her arrest, detention and torture by the Ethiopian police. On February 12, 2004, the Ethiopian police entered Ms. XXXs home without a warrant. After suffering through an hour of interrogation and beating, the police took Ms. XXX from her home and brought her to


prison. Ms. XXX then endured four and a half months of torture at the hands of the Ethiopian prison guards. Only with the courageous help of her father and cousin was Ms. XXX able to escape to the United States. If Ms. XXX is forced to return to Ethiopia, she will be arrested and tortured again by the Ethiopian police. Since Ms. XXXs arrival in the United States, the Ethiopian police delivered a letter to her home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia telling her to return to the police station for more questioning. When Ms. XXX did not respond, the police arrested, interrogated and tortured her sister about Ms. XXXs whereabouts. She also fears that, if returned, she will disappear just as her husband did four years ago. In 2004, Ms. XXXs husband was apprehended from his place of work by the Ethiopian police and has not been seen since. Ms. XXXs fear of future persecution is reasonable in light of the past persecution she endured, the Ethiopian governments long-standing record of persecuting OLF members and sympathizers, and the absence of any changed country conditions that may eliminate the basis for her fear. The Court should therefore exercise its discretion and grant Ms. XXXs petition for asylum. STATEMENT OF FACTS I. MS. XXXS LIFE AS AN OROMO IN ETHIOPIA A. Ms. XXXs Youth as a Child of Mixed Ethnicity.

Ms. XXX was born in Debre Markos, Ethiopia on October 3, 1955. 1 Her father, XXX, is a member of the Amhara ethnic group and continues to live today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2

1 Declaration of XXX XXX Decl. 1, attached hereto as Exhibit A. 2 Id., 2, Ex. A.


Her mother, XXX, who passed away in 2001, was a member of the Oromo ethnic group. 3 Ms. XXXs mother encouraged her and her sister to celebrate the Oromo culture. 4 She instilled in her daughters the Oromo culture, dress, cuisine and tradition. 5 While Ms. XXX celebrated the Oromo culture at home, she quickly learned that Oromos were treated as second-class citizens.6 In school, Ms. XXX was often ridiculed and harassed by classmates and teachers. 7 classmates often referred to her as baria, which translates to slave. 8 In 1978, Ms. XXX graduated from Nigus Tekelehamanot High School. 9 Not long after her graduation, Ms. XXXs father arranged a marriage for her. 10 Then, on January 29, 1979, Ms. XXX married XXX, a member of the Amhara ethnic group. 11 Ms. XXX soon discovered XXX was an alcoholic who squandered their money on alcohol, leaving little for food or bills. 12 XXX frequently came home after drinking and subjected Ms. XXX to physical and verbal abuse, threatening to kill her and degrading her mixed ethnicity. 13 As a result of this abuse, Ms. XXX suffered two miscarriages. 14 And while she repeatedly tried to seek protection from the police, Ms. XXX was turned away time and again. 15 The police went so far as to warn her to stop angering her husband. 16 Her

3 Id., Ex. A. 4 Id., Ex. A. 5 Id., Ex. A. 6 Id., Ex. A. 7 Id., Ex. A. 8 Id., Ex. A. 9 Id., Ex. A. 10 Id. 3, Ex. A. 11 Id., Ex. A. 12 Id., Ex. A. 13 Id., Ex. A; Affidavit of XXX XXX Aff. 4, attached hereto as Exhibit B. 14 XXXDecl. 2, Ex. A. 15 Id., Ex. A. 16 Id., Ex. A.


After eight years, Ms. XXX escaped this abusive marriage. 17 She returned home to her family in Addis Ababa to start her life anew. 18 Within a year, Ms. XXX started her own clothing business, XXX, in Addis Ababa. 19 She sold her clothing at both the retail and

wholesale levels. 20 Her good fortune continued when she met her second husband, XXX, in 1989. 21 He came into her store to shop for clothing. 22 A year later, they married. 23 XXX, an Oromo, worked as a manager in the mechanics division of Ethiopian Airlines. 24 His position with the airline enabled Ms. XXX to travel to the United States, India, England, Germany and Italy to purchase merchandise for her store. 25 B. Ms. XXX and Her Husband Join the Oromo Liberation Front. Ms. XXXs

On August 15, 2001, Ms. XXXs newfound good fortune changed. 26

brother-in-law, C., was arrested by the Ethiopian police because of his membership in the OLF. 27 Mr. C. died at the hands of the police after two days of interrogation and torture. 28 Ms. XXX and her husband deeply mourned their loss. 29 To cope with their grief, Ms. XXX and her husband began learning about the OLF and its mission to achieve equality and justice for all people in Ethiopia through non-violent means. 30

17Id. 34, Ex. A. 18 Id. 4, Ex. A. 19 Id., Ex. A. 20 Id., Ex. A. 21 Id., Ex. A. 22 Id., Ex. A. 23 Id., Ex. A. 24 Id., Ex. A. 25 Id., Ex. A. 26 Id. 5, Ex. A. 27 Id., Ex. A. 28 Id., Ex. A. 29 Id., Ex. A. 30 Id., Ex. A.


Because they believed in this mission, on October 2, 2001, Ms. XXX and her husband joined the organization. 31 As a member of the OLF and, in particular, its womens organization, Ms. XXX participated in bi-monthly meetings, raised money and recruited members to advance the OLFs mission. 32 She also worked tirelessly to help less fortunate Oromo women, including women abused by their husbands. 33 As a victim of domestic violence in her first marriage, Ms. XXX had learned that Ethiopian law enforcement routinely turn a blind eye towards domestic abuse suffered by Oromo women and felt strongly about helping these women escape their abusive husbands. 34 In particular, her fundraising efforts helped by giving these women resources to get back on their feet after escaping abusive marriages. 35 Her husband was similarly involved in the OLF mens organization. 36 He too hosted a few meetings at their home, raised money and recruited members to advance the OLFs mission. 37 C. Because of His Membership In the OLF, Mr. XXX is Unlawfully Arrested by the Ethiopian Authorities and Disappears.

On February 10, 2004, the Ethiopian police arrested Mr. XXX at his workplace. 38 Ms. XXX learned of her husbands arrest later that day. 39 When he did not come home from work in the evening, Ms. XXX called his workplace. 40 Mr. XXXs friend and co-worker, XXX,

31 Id., Ex. A. 32 Id. 7, Ex. A. 33 Id., Ex. A. 34 Id. 3, 7, Ex. A; Affidavit of Dr. Donald N. Levine Levine Aff. 7, attached hereto as Exhibit C. 35 XXX Decl. 7, Ex. A. 36 Id., Ex. A. 37 Id., Ex. A. 38 Id. 9, Ex. A. 39Id., Ex. A. 40 Id., Ex. A.


explained to her that the police had shown up at their workplace and arrested him earlier that day. 41 XXX also told her that the police had taken him to the Meklawi police district. 42 Ms. XXX immediately went to the police station to find her husband. 43 When she arrived, the police refused to give her any information about his whereabouts, much less his condition, and ordered her to leave the station. 44 D. The Ethiopian Authorities Unlawfully Arrest, Detain and Torture Ms. XXX Because of Her Involvement With the OLF.

Two days later, on the evening of February 12, 2004, the Ethiopian police entered Ms. XXXs home without a warrant. 45 The police made clear that her OLF affiliation prompted their visit when, upon entering her home, they accused her of being a criminal engaged in antigovernment activity. 46 They spent the next hour beating and kicking Ms. XXX and ransacking her home. 47 The police then arrested Ms. XXX and immediately took her to Police Station District 3, a prison in Addis Ababa. 48 Without formally charging her with a crime, the police detained her for the next four and a half months. 49 She spent approximately 22 hours a day in a small, crowded cement cell with nine other women. 50 The cell was so small that, at night, the women could only sleep sitting upright on the concrete floor with their backs erect against the wall. 51 The prison guards only allowed the women to use the bathroom once or twice a day. 52

41 Id., Ex. A. 42 Id., Ex. A. 43 Id., Ex. A. 44 Id., Ex. A. 45 Id. 10, Ex. A; May 25, 2005 Letter from XXX XXX Letter, attached hereto as Exhibit D. 46 XXX Decl. 10, Ex. A. 47 Id., Ex. A. 48 Id. 10-11, Ex. A. 49 Id. 11, Ex. A. 50 Id., Ex. A. 51 Id., Ex. A. 52 Id., Ex. A.


As a result, the women often urinated and defecated on the floor of the cell. 53 Ms. XXX and the others were fed just once a day, at approximately 8 p.m. each evening. 54 Their meal consisted of a single piece of bread and a cup of water that was so filthy that Ms. XXX regularly suffered severe bouts of diarrhea. 55 While imprisoned, Ms. XXX experienced constant abuse and torture. 56 Every few days, two male guards dragged Ms. XXX to an interrogation room. 57 While there, the guards

interrogated Ms. XXX about her involvement in the OLF and demanded that she identify by name other OLF members. 58 When she refused to identify other members, the officers burned her with cigarettes, beat her with wooden stools and rubber sticks, kicked her with their boots, beat her with their fists and immersed her head in a tub of filthy water for such long periods of time that she almost suffocated on many occasions. 59 On those days when the guards did not drag her into interrogation sessions, they made her and the other women run barefoot and kneel on razor-sharp rocks or clean the soiled bathroom stalls and floors. 60 II. MS. XXXS RESCUE FROM PRISON AND ESCAPE TO THE UNITED STATES A. With the Assistance of Her Family, Ms. XXX Was Rescued From Prison and Escaped to the U.S.

On June 25, 2004, after enduring four and a half months in prison, Ms. XXX was removed from her cell and thrown into a police car.61 She immediately thought the prison

53 Id., Ex. A. 54 Id., Ex. A. 55 Id., Ex. A. 56 Id. 12, Ex. A. 57 Id. 13, Ex. A. 58 Id., Ex. A. 59 Id., Ex. A. 60 Id. 12, Ex. A. 61 Id. 14, Ex. A.


guards were going to kill her. 62 She began to cry hysterically and pleaded for her life. 63 The guards drove her to a small, dark street not far from the prison and ordered her to get out of the car. 64 When she got out, a guard removed her handcuffs. 65 As she stood in the street, she again begged and pleaded for her life, believing the guards were going to murder her. 66 A few moments later, the prison guards got into their car and drove away. 67 Another car then

approached and she heard someone calling her name. 68 When she looked into the car, she saw her cousin, XXX, and immediately jumped in. 69 Her cousin took her to Debrezit, a town outside Addis Ababa. 70 There, he took her to a one-room apartment in a motel.71 Over the course of the next week, her cousin brought her food and her passport and found a way to get her an exit visa and an airline ticket to the United States. 72 XXX explained that she must leave Ethiopia immediately because she was not safe there. 73 Just days later, on July 2, 2004, Ms. XXX boarded an Ethiopian Airlines flight to the United States. 74 On July 3, 2004, Ms. XXX arrived in Chicago. 75 B. Ms. XXX Is and Will Continue To Be a Productive Member of Society.

Shortly after arriving in the United States, Ms. XXX contacted the Chicago office of the National Immigration Justice Center (formerly the Midwest Immigration & Human Rights

62 Id., Ex. A. 63 Id., Ex. A. 64 Id., Ex. A. 65 Id., Ex. A. 66 Id., Ex. A. 67 Id., Ex. A. 68 Id., Ex. A. 69 Id., Ex. A. 70 Id., Ex. A. 71 Id. 16, Ex. A. 72 Id., Ex. A. 73 Id., Ex. A. 74 Id., Ex. A. 75 Id. 16-17, Ex. A.


Center) seeking help. 76 Soon thereafter, she obtained counsel and visited Heartlands Marjorie Kovler Center for Treatment of Survivors of Torture (the Kovler Center). 77 In July 2005, Ms. XXX was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression. 78 Ms. XXX was also advised to undergo treatment in order to be able to cope adequately with effects of trauma. 79 Based on this recommendation, Ms. XXX underwent approximately 10 months of therapy at the Kovler Center. 80 After seeking treatment at the Kovler Center, Ms. XXX began taking English as a second language courses at a city college. 81 After gaining a very basic understanding of the English language, Ms. XXX began taking computer training courses, as well. 82 At this time, Ms. XXX continues to take English and computer courses with hopes of gaining employment in a local clothing shop. 83 In the meantime, Ms. XXX spends her days working as a nanny for a family in her neighborhood. 84 Her former employer, for whom she also worked as a nanny, referred her to the family. 85 She currently works full-time caring for the familys 3-month old baby. 86 III. A. CONDITIONS IN ETHIOPIA The Ethiopian Governments Persecution of OLF Members and Suspected Sympathizers Corroborates Ms. XXXs Past Persecution.

76 Declaration of XXX, XXX Decl. 2, attached hereto as Exhibit E. 77 XXX Decl. 22, Ex. A; XXX Decl. 2, Ex. E. 78 XXX Decl. 6, Ex. E. 79 Id. 6(c) at Recommendations, Ex. E. 80 XXX Decl. 22, Ex. A. 81 Id., Ex. A; Fall 2007 Student Study List for XXX, attached hereto as Exhibit F. 82 XXX Decl. 22, Ex. A. 83 Id., Ex. A 84 Id., Ex. A. 85 Id.; Ex. A; Declaration of XXX XXX Decl. 5, attached hereto as Exhibit G. 86 XXX Decl. 22, Ex. A.


The Ethiopian government has a long history of persecuting political dissidents. 87 Indeed, since taking over in early 1992, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (the EPRDF) has maintained an unrelieved record of political harassment and persecution of dissidents. 88 In its 1995 report, the American Association for the International Commission of Jurists observed: Those who dare to question [EPRDF] policies risk arrest, in some cases being beaten or even jailed....Despite abductions, harassment, and imprisonment, political parties are mushrooming in frustration against the lack of free expression. 89 Almost a decade later, in 2004, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council also documented this record in detail, citing thousands of cases of persons whose rights were violated by the government on political grounds through extra-judicial killings, bodily injuries, torture, involuntary disappearance, illegal detention, unlawful dismissal of workers, eviction from home and/or farmlands, imprisonment and harassment of members of opposing political parties, and denial of justice. 90 The EPRDF regime views the OLF, in particular, as one of the most threatening of the political opposition groups. 91 The hostility between these two parties dates back to early 1992, when the regime took over. 92 At that time, the OLF withdrew from the first national elections on grounds that members of their party were being harassed and incarcerated. 93 In June 1992, Dr. Donald A. Levine, one of the foremost experts on country conditions in Ethiopia, witnessed

87 Levine Aff. 10, Ex. C.; See also Human Rights Watch, Suppressing Dissent, Human Rights Abuses and Political Repression in Ethiopias Oromia Region HRW, Suppressing Dissent, at 1, attached hereto as Exhibit H. 88 Levine Aff. 10, Ex. C. 89 Id. 11, Ex. C. 90 Id., Ex. C (emphasis added). 91 Id. 14, Ex. C. 92 Id. 15, Ex. C. 93 Id., Ex. C.


the regimes conduct first hand. 94 Along with the Human Rights Officer of the U.S. Embassy, Ms. Bonnie Glick, Dr. Levine visited a prison near Addis Ababa where they interviewed a number of OLF supporters and would-be candidates for election who had been arbitrarily and illegally imprisoned. 95 The U.S. Department of State has long recognized and documented these abuses carried out by the EPRDF regime. 96 For example, the U.S. Department of States Report on Human Rights Practices described the 2000 elections as marred by serious irregularities, including killings, disappearances, voter intimidation and harassment, and unlawful detentions of opposition party supporters, particularly in the Southern Region. 97 Unfortunately, such

practices remained unchanged during Ethiopias elections in May 2005. 98 During that time, thousands of political protesters were unlawfully detained, tortured or killed. 99 B. Arbitrary Arrests Carried Out By Ethiopian Police Corroborates Ms. XXXs Past Persecution.

During the EPRDF regimes reign, the government has arrested tens of thousands of Oromo whom they have accused of being members or supporters of the OLF since the organization was banned in 1992. 100 According to former Ethiopian President Negasso

Gidadag, when he left office in 2001, approximately 25,000 citizens remained in prison on OLF-

94 Id., Ex. C. 95 Id., Ex. C. 96 Id. 11-12, Ex. C. 97 Id. 12, Ex. C. 98 Id. 13, Ex. C. 99 United States Department of State, Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Ethiopia (Released Mar. 11, 2008) 2007 Country Report at 1, 5, attached hereto as Exhibit I. 100 HRW, Suppressing Dissent at 12, Ex. H; see also Levine Aff. 9-11, Ex. C.


related charges throughout Oromia and in Addis Ababa. 101 Since then, the government has failed to make any public move to substantially reduce the number of detainees. 102 In its 2004 Country Report, the U.S. Department of State agreed. 103 In particular, the report stated: The Government continued to arrest and detain persons arbitrarily, particularly those suspected of sympathizing with or being members of the OLF. Thousands of suspects remained in detention without charge, and lengthy pretrial detention continued to be a problem. 104 Human Rights Watch has gone to great lengths to document the governments arbitrary arrest and detention of OLF members and supporters. 105 In 2004, Human Rights Watch

interviewed 41 former political prisoners who had been detained based on accusations that they conspired against the government. 106 Among this group, many had been arrested more than once and some had been arrested as many as ten times since 1992. 107 Most were accused of providing support to the OLF or of planning acts of armed insurrection on the organizations behalf. 108 None were ever tried for any offense relating to the allegations that led to their arrest. 109 Yet all were imprisoned for weeks or months before being released.110 In many cases, these prisoners endured interrogation and torture aimed at forcing them to produce information about OLF activities that they did not possess. 111 Taken together, their testimonies

101 Id., Ex. H.; Id. 15, Ex. C. 102 Id., Ex. H.; Id., Ex. C. 103 United States Department of State, Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Ethiopia (Released on Feb. 28, 2005) 2004 Country Report at 1, attached hereto as Exhibit J. 104 Id., Ex. J. 105 Id. at 12-20, Ex. J. 106 HRW, Suppressing Dissent at 12-13, Ex. H. 107 Id., Ex. H. 108 Id., Ex. H. 109 Id., Ex. H. 110 Id., Ex. H. 111 Id., Ex. H.


describe a widespread climate of suspicion and abuse within which many security and government officials make widespread use of arbitrary imprisonment as a weapon in an ongoing war against dissent. 112 C. The Prison Conditions and Use of Torture By the Ethiopian Police and Other Government Officials Corroborates Ms. XXXs Past Persecution.

In its 2004 Country Report, the United States Department of State documented Ethiopias prison conditions, as well as the treatment of prisoners by Ethiopian authorities. 113 The report documented very poor conditions at prisons and pretrial detention centers. 114 In particular, the report stated: Prisoners often were allocated fewer than 21.5 square feet of sleeping space in a room that could contain up to 200 persons. The daily meal budget was approximately 25 cents per prisoner per day.Prison conditions were unsanitary, and access to medical care was not reliable. There was no budget for prison facility maintenance. 115 Numerous credible sources have documented the Ethiopian authorities abuse and mistreatment of prisoners. 116 In particular, Human Rights Watch reported that individuals

arrested on suspicion of OLF-related activities are subjected to torture and other forms of mistreatment. 117 In some cases, police officials apply torture in the course of interrogations, while in other cases they use it as a form of punishment. 118 As Georgette Gannon, Deputy Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, stated in 2005, The Ethiopian security forces long

112 Id., Ex. H. 113 2004 Country Report at 3-4, Ex. J. 114 Id. at 4, Ex. J. 115 Id., Ex. J. 116 Id. at 3, Ex. J; HRW, Suppressing Dissent at 12-20, Ex. H. 117 HRW, Suppressing Dissent at 18, Ex. H. 118 Id., Ex. H.


history of mistreating detainees arrested for political reasons is hardly a secret. 119 She went on to declare that [t]he international community should call on the Ethiopian government to immediately open these detention facilities to international scrutiny. 120 As Human Rights Watch acknowledges, for many former prisoners, their release from prison is only the beginning of their ordeal. 121 In a number of cases, police officials follow, harass and intimidate former detainees, as well as their families, for years after their release.122 In one instance, a man was detained 6 times since 1992 on suspicion of belonging to an OLF cell. 123 Since his last release in May 2003, he stated that the police have followed him, watched his house and questioned his neighbors about him. 124 D. These Conditions Remain Unchanged Today.

While the Ethiopian government has a well-documented history of persecuting members of political opposition groups, and particularly the OLF, it is also well documented that the government has not changed its tactics. Numerous reports by credible agencies have consistently commented on the fact that the Ethiopian government in place now for almost twenty years continues to target individuals believed to support or sympathize with political opposition groups, including the OLF. For instance, in its January 2008 Country Summary on Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch acknowledges that the Ethiopian governments human rights record remains poor. 125 The summary goes on to report that government authorities continue to use

119 Human Rights Watch, Ethiopia: Crackdown Spreads Beyond Capital, As Arbitrary Arrests Continue, Detainees Face Torture and III-Treatment (June 15, 2005) at 1, 2, attached hereto as Exhibit K. 120 Id., Ex. K. 121 HRW, Suppressing Dissent at 20, Ex. H. 122 Id., Ex. H. 123 Id., Ex. H. 124 Id., Ex. H. 125 Human Rights Watch, Country Summary, (January 2008) HRW, Country Summary at 1, attached hereto as Exhibit L.


the fact of a long-standing insurgency by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) to imprison, harass, and physically abuse critics, including school children. 126 In August of 2007, for example, federal and state security forces arrested well over 200 people in western Oromia, including three members of the executive committee of the Nekemte chapter of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council and OFDM members, on suspicion of links to the OLF. 127 Additionally, Amnesty International USAs Advocacy Director for Africa, Lynn Fredriksson, recently testified before the Subcommittee on African Affairs (Committee on Foreign Relations, Untied States Senate), stating that human rights violations in Ethiopia are worsening, not improving. 128 She further testified: [S]ince the disputed 2005 elections, plagued by accusations of electoral fraud and mass protest demonstrations, political repression greatly increased. As reported by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the U.S. Department of State, these violations have included mass arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, extrajudicial killings, repression of ethnic minorities, intimidation of students and teachers, suppression of press freedom, and the less reported practice of targeting peaceful political opposition in the countryside. 129 And in its 2007 Country Report, the U.S. Department of State reported on continuing human rights abuses in Ethiopia, including: unlawful killings, beating, abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces, poor prison conditions, and arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly of those suspected of sympathizing with or being members of the opposition of insurgent groups. 130 Among the examples cited in the report involved security forces who arrested hundreds of people without warrant during the year, particularly prior to the 126 Id. at 2, Ex. L. 127 Id., Ex. L. 128 Centering Human Rights in U.S. Policy on Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea: Hearing Before the Subcomm. On African Affairs, Comm. On Foreign Relations, at 7, 12 (2008) (statement of Lynn Fredriksson, Advocacy Director for Africa, Amnesty International USA) Centering Human Rights, attached hereto as Exhibit M. 129 Id. at 7, Ex. M. 130 2007 Country Report at 1, Ex. I.


Ethiopian New Year on September 11, 2007. 131 Security forces began arresting individuals throughout the Oromiya Region on the grounds that they were involved with the OLF and possibly planning terrorist activityAt years end 148 remained in jail. 132 The current

political and social conditions in Ethiopia and, specifically, the governments persecution of OLF members and supporters, therefore, continue to represent a serious human rights concern. 133 STATEMENT OF LAW IV. MS. XXX MEETS THE STATUTORY DEFINITION OF REFUGEE AND IS THEREFORE ENTITLED TO ASYLUM Ms. XXX is eligible for asylum under 208 of the INA, which authorizes the grant of asylum to any alien who is a refugee. 134 The Act defines a refugee as one who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. 135 An applicant may meet this definition by showing past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution. 136 Based on both her past persecution and her wellfounded fear of future persecution, Ms. XXX is a refugee. A. Ms. XXX Suffered Past Persecution On Account of Protected Grounds.

Ms. XXXs sworn affidavit and anticipated testimony show: (1) past persecution by the Ethiopian government, and (2) that the persecution was motivated by Ms. XXXs Oromo

131 Id. at 5, Ex. I. 132 Id., Ex. I. 133 Id. at 1, Ex. I. 134 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(1); 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42)(A). 135 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42)(A). 136 8 C.F.R. 208.13(b).


ethnicity, membership in a social group, and political opinion. Ms. XXXs credible testimony alone may be sufficient to establish past persecution. 137 1. The Ethiopian Governments Unlawful Arrest, Detention and Torture of Ms. XXX Constitutes Persecution.

While there is no statutory definition of persecution, the hallmark of persecution involves a threat to life or freedom. 138 The Seventh Circuit has described persecution as punishment or the infliction of harm for political, religious, or other reasons that this country does not recognize as legitimate. 139 Persecution includes detention, arrest, interrogation, prosecution,

imprisonment, illegal searches, confiscation of property, surveillance, beatings, or torture. 140 Detention, in particular, qualifies as persecution if it involves more than simple incarceration. 141 It is indisputable that the Ethiopian authorities persecuted Ms. XXX. As described in detail above, Ms. XXX first became a target of the Ethiopian authorities on February 10, 2004, when the police detained Ms. XXXs husband, XXX. 142 Although she did not know it at the time, February 10, 2004 would be the last time she would see her husband. 143 Two days later, the Ethiopian police arrived at Ms. XXXs home and entered without a warrant. 144 While at Ms. XXXs home, the police turned it upside down and violently attacked her. 145 This incident

137 See 8 C.F.R. 208.13(a); Gontcharova v. Ashcroft, 384 F.3d 873, 876 (7th Cir. 2004). 138 See 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3)(A); I.N.S. v. Stevic, 467 U.S. 407, 411 (1984). 139 Begzatowski v. I.N.S., 278 F.3d 665, 669 (7th Cir. 2002) (internal citations omitted). 140 Mitev v. I.N.S., 67 F.3d 1325, 1330 (7th Cir. 1995). 141 Zalega v. I.N.S., 916 F.2d 1257, 1260 (7th Cir. 1990) (citations omitted). 142 XXX Decl. 9, Ex. A. 143 Tamas-Mercea v. Reno, 222 F.3d 417, 425 (7th Cir. 2000) (forcible taking of ones family members may constitute persecution); XXX Decl. 9, Ex. A. 144 XXX Decl. 10, Ex. A; XXX Letter, Ex. D. 145 Id., Ex. A; Id., Ex. D.


alone constitutes persecution by the Ethiopian authorities. 146 But Ms. XXXs nightmare did not end with the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of the police at her home that day.147 After one hour of abuse, the police apprehended Ms. XXX and took her to Police Station District 3, where she would spend the next four and half months. 148 While incarcerated, Ms. XXX spent 22 hours of each day confined to a claustrophobic, windowless, cement cell with nine other women. 149 The conditions in the cell were deplorable. 150 Ms. XXX was deprived of food, subsisting on only one piece of bread a day and some dirty water. 151 And the cell quarters were so cramped that Ms. XXX and the other prisoners were unable to find enough space at night to lie down and sleep, let alone to escape the defecation and urine that overwhelmed the cell given the prisoners lack of access to bathrooms. 152 Ms. XXX endured even greater suffering in the two or so hours a day she was released from the cell. 153 During those two hours, the prison guards either interrogated her, forced her to clean bathrooms, or made her run barefoot or kneel on razor-sharp rocks. 154 In Ms. XXXs interrogation sessions which occurred every few days the prison guards routinely abused her because she refused to succumb to their demands to identify other members of the OLF. 155 In an effort to break her down, the police guards employed various methods of abuse they burned her with cigarettes, beat her with wooden stools and rubber sticks, assaulted her with their fists and boots, and drowned her head in filthy

146 Vadura v. I.N.S., 131 F.3d 689, 690 (7th Cir. 1997) (finding that a single incident of beating amounted to past persecution). 147 XXX Decl. 10-11, Ex. A. 148 Id. 11, Ex. A. 149 Id., Ex. A. 150 Id., Ex. A. 151 Id., Ex. A. 152 Id., Ex. A. 153 Id. 12, Ex. A. 154 Id. 12-13, Ex. A. 155 Id. 13, Ex. A.


water so that she was on the brink of suffocating. 156 Ms. XXX carries both the emotional and physical scars from this torture with her today. In fact, she has visible scars on her knees and feet from prolonged exposure to sharp rocks, as well as circular scars on her hands and forearms from cigarette burns. 157 While Ms. XXX was incarcerated, the Ethiopian authorities confiscated the clothing business that she had spent the past decade and a half building. 158 These incidents, including the illegal search, detention, and torture, as well as the confiscation of Ms. XXXs business, clearly rise to the level of past persecution. 159 2. Ms. XXXs Persecution was Based on Her Ethnicity, Social Group and Political Opinion.

Ms. XXX was persecuted by the Ethiopian authorities on account of her Oromo ethnicity and social group, as well as her OLF affiliation. An applicant is entitled to asylum if the past persecution she suffered occurred because of any one of five statutorily-protected characteristics. 160 The persecution need not have occurred solely because of any one

characteristic; it is sufficient to show that a characteristic was at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant. 161 Here, Ms. XXXs sworn affidavit and anticipated testimony

156 Id., Ex. A. 157 Id., Ex. A; XXX Aff. 15, 18, Ex. B.; XXX Decl. 4-5, 6(b)-(c), Ex. E. 158 See, e.g., Ahmed v. Gonzales, 467 F.3d 669, 673 (7th Cir. 2006) (Economic harm, too, may be persecution if it is deliberately imposed as a form of punishment and it results in sufficiently severe deprivations.); Capric v. Ashcroft, 355 F.3d 1075, 1084 (7th Cir. 2004) (noting that persecution can include confiscation of property, surveillance, beatings [], torture, [and] behavior that threatens the same (citations omitted)); Transitional Government of Ethiopia Ministry of Trade, Registration Certificate & Foreign Trade Licence Trade License, attached hereto as Exhibit N.; XXX Decl. 18, Ex. A. 159 See, e.g., Tang v. Ashcroft, 107 Fed. Appx. 9, 12 (7th Cir. 2004) (three-night imprisonment that included beatings by security officers with sticks and an electric whip until refugee was bleeding severely and his head hurt constituted past persecution); Asani v. I.N.S., 154 F.3d 719, 724 (7th Cir. 1998) (finding petitioner suffered past persecution where he was detained for two weeks in harsh conditions and police beat him and knocked out two of his teeth). 160 Tamas-Mercea, 222 F.3d at 423. 161 8 U.S.C. 1158.


demonstrate that the Ethiopian authorities targeted Ms. XXX because of her ethnicity, social group, and political opinion. Although her father is Amhara, Ms. XXXs mother was Oromo and instilled in her the values and culture of the Oromo people. 162 She has always maintained a strong Oromo

identity. 163 Ms. XXXs Oromo ethnicity is so central to her character that it constitutes an immutable characteristic. 164 As a child, Ms. XXX, like many other Oromo children living in Ethiopia, was harassed and treated like a second-class citizen by both students and teachers alike. 165 The degradation Ms. XXX faced because of her ethnicity continued into her adult life when her first husband physically and verbally abused her by using ethnic epithets. 166 Ms. XXX turned to the Ethiopian police for help in her abusive marriage, but the police ignored her pleas and criticized her for inciting her husband. 167 This is an experience echoed by many Oromos in Ethiopia, where it is common for the Ethiopian authorities to turn a blind eye to their needs, or, worse yet, actively subject them to abuse. 168 Ms. XXXs compassion for the plight of Oromo minorities compounded by the grief she felt in the wake of her brother-in-laws murder by the Ethiopian police because of his OLF membership precipitated her desire to join the

162 XXX Decl. 2, Ex. A. 163 Id., Ex. A. 164 See Lwin v. I.N.S., 144 F.3d 505, 511 (7th Cir. 1998) (members of a particular social group share a common, immutable characteristic such as sex, race, kinship, or in some cases past experiences); Tapiero de Orejuela v. Gonzales, 423 F.3d 666, 672 (7th Cir. 2005) (common characteristics of a social group are such that members of the group either cannot change, or should not be required to change because it is fundamental to their individual identities or consciences). 165 XXX Decl. 2, Ex. A. 166 Id. 3, Ex. A. 167 Id., Ex. A. 168 See Tolosa v. Ashcroft, 384 F.3d 906, 907 (7th Cir. 2004) (Oromos make up approximately 40% of the population of Ethiopia, but have historically been politically marginalized, and the Ethiopian government has rejected their attempts for independence.); 2004 Country Report at 20; (noting that Ethiopian authorities target the Oromo people for abuse), Ex. J; HRW, Suppressing Dissent at 12-13, Ex. H.


OLF. Although Ms. XXX and her husband tried to keep their membership in the OLF discreet, both were active in the organization. They participated in and hosted OLF meetings and

regularly contributed to its fundraising and recruiting efforts. 169 And it was Ms. XXXs and her husbands active membership in the OLF that undoubtedly instigated the Ethiopian authorities interest in them. 170 This connection is clear given that the Ethiopian police, upon arriving at Ms. XXXs home on February 12, 2004, immediately accused her and her husband of being participants in anti-government activity. 171 Similarly, during Ms. XXXs interrogation

sessions at Police Station District No. 3, the guards relentlessly questioned her about her OLF activities and demanded that she disclose the identity of other OLF members. 172 The Ethiopian authorities therefore made their motives with respect to Ms. XXX patently clearthey arrested and detained her because of her OLF activities, which is wholly intertwined with her Oromo identity. B. Ms. XXX Has a Well-Founded Fear of Future Persecution.

Even though Ms. XXXs past persecution alone supports a grant of asylum, her case is even more compelling because she has a well-founded fear of future persecution. Ms. XXX can establish a well-founded fear of future persecution because (1) the government cannot disprove Ms. XXXs legally presumed well-founded fear of future persecution, and (2) Ms. XXXs fear of future persecution is subjectively real and objectively reasonable. 1. The Government Cannot Meet Its Burden To Disprove Ms. XXXs Legally Presumed Well-Founded Fear of Future Persecution.

169 XXX Decl. 7, Ex. A. 170 XXX OLF identification card, attached hereto as Exhibit O; Letter from XXX, attached hereto as Exhibit P. 171 XXX Decl. 10, Ex. A. 172 Id. 13, Ex. A.


The Ethiopian governments past persecution of Ms. XXX raises a presumption that Ms. XXX will be subject to future persecution. 173 The government must therefore prove by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) there has been a fundamental change in circumstances such that the applicant no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution, or (2) the applicant could avoid future persecution by relocating to another part of Ethiopia if, under all the circumstances, it would be reasonable to expect the applicant to do so. 174 The government cannot overcome this presumption by citing general reports of country conditions (which, as described supra at Section III.D., actually show that the Ethiopian authorities continue to harass and abuse members of the OLF). 175 Rather, to overcome the presumption that Ms. XXX will be persecuted if forced to return to Ethiopia, an individualized analysis of how changed conditions will affect the specific petitioners situation is required. 176 however, cannot overcome this presumption. First, conditions in Ethiopia for Oromos and OLF supporters have not improved. As Dr. Levines affidavit and anticipated testimony will show, based on his scholarly and field research in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian authorities persecution of OLF members has been unrelenting. In fact, conditions in Ethiopia for OLF members deteriorated after Ms. XXX fled her country in 2004. 177 For example, just before the Ethiopian New Year on September 11, 2007, security The government,

173 See 8 C.F.R. 208.13(b)(1) (An applicant who has[suffered] past persecution shall also be presumed to have a well-founded fear of [future] persecution.) 174 8 C.F.R. 208.13(b)(1)(ii); Bace v. Ashcroft, 352 F.3d 1133, 1140 (7th Cir. 2003). 175 Id. at 1140-41 (citing Galina v. I.N.S., 213 F.3d 955, 959) (7th Cir. 2000)). 176 Borja v. I.N.S., 175 F.3d 732, 738 (9th Cir. 1998). 177 Kebe v. Gonzales, 473 F.3d 855, 858 (7th Cir. 2007) (noting that after Ethiopias 2005 elections, when the opposition did better than expected, the government violently attacked and killed opposition protesters, restricted freedom of assembly, and continued to imprison and assault opposition politicians. The information thus suggests that . . . the government has become even more aggressive about cracking down on opposition groups, especially now that the success of these groups in the 2005 election has shown them to be a realistic threat to the governments power).


forces arrested without warrant hundreds of persons throughout the Oromiya region on grounds that they were involved with the OLF. 178 Second, the government also cannot prove that relocation within Ethiopia would relieve Ms. XXXs well-founded fear of persecution. As Dr. Levine concludes, suspected OLF

members forced to return to Ethiopia have literally no place to hide. 179 This is because Ethiopian authorities monitor the passengers arriving at the airports by checking their names against lists of opposition party members who have previously been imprisoned or are otherwise suspect. 180 Dr. Levine has personal knowledge of two Ethiopians who returned home via Bole Airport in Addis Ababa only to be apprehended upon arrival and later imprisoned. 181 The government has no basis to assert that Ms. XXX could somehow avoid a similar fate if she returned to Ethiopia. In light of this threat at the Ethiopian airports, Ms. XXX would not even be able to test whether relocation within Ethiopia could provide her with a safe haven from the authorities. And even if she could somehow avert this threat at the airport, the government cannot establish that the conditions for OLF sympathizers is any safer outside of Addis Ababa Ms. XXXs last place of residence in Ethiopia. In actuality, country condition reports prove that OLF members are targeted throughout Ethiopia with no particular geographic bias. 182 2. Even Without This Presumption, Ms. XXX Has a Well-Founded Fear of Future Persecution if Forced to Return to Ethiopia.

178 2007 Country Report at 5, Ex. I. 179 Levine Aff. 26, Ex. C. 180 Id., Ex. C. 181 Id., Ex. C. 182 See generally HRW, Suppressing Dissent, Ex. H (reporting on OLF members persecuted throughout Oromia, Ethiopias largest and most populous state); Centering Human Rights in U.S. Policy at 7, Ex. M (summarizing instances of extra-judicial killings, beatings, torture, rape, and illegal detentions of opposition group members throughout Ethiopia, including in the Amhara and Oromia Regions).


This presumption notwithstanding, through her sworn affidavit, her anticipated testimony at the hearing on this matter, as well as other credible evidence, Ms. XXX can demonstrate a well-founded fear of future persecution by the Ethiopian government on account of her political beliefs. In particular, Ms. XXX (1) possesses a genuine fear of enduring additional persecution if returned to Ethiopia, and (2) her fears are objectively reasonable. 183 Ms. XXX need not establish that she will definitely be, or even very likely be, persecuted if she returns to Ethiopia. 184 Rather, according to the Supreme Court, one has a well-founded fear of persecution when persecution is a reasonable possibility. 185 The Supreme Court explained that, in

objective terms, an applicant may possess a genuine fear of future persecution when there is less than a 50% chance of persecution and a mere 10% chance may be sufficient. 186 Here, the evidence sufficiently demonstrates Ms. XXXs well-founded fear of persecution based on protected grounds. 187 The Department of Homeland Security regulations (as adopted under the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services under the Department of Homeland Security) establish a three-part test to determine if an applicant has a well-founded fear of persecution. 188

183 See Gomes v. Gonzales, 473 F.3d 746 (7th Cir. 2007). 184 See Sayaxing v. I.N.S., 179 F.3d 515, 520 (7th Cir. 1999) 185 I.N.S. v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 430-31, 440 (1987); see also Kllokoqi v. Gonzales, 439 F.3d 336, 345 (7th Cir. 2005) (recognizing that an asylum applicant may establish a reasonable possibility of future persecution by showing that there is even a 10% chance that he will be shot, tortured, or otherwise persecuted upon returning to his country of origin). 186 Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. at 431. 187 8 C.F.R. 208.13(b)(2)(i)(A). 188 This test, comprised of subjective and objective components, effectively tracks the test articulated in the Seventh Circuit. See Gomes v. Gonzales, 473 F.3d 746 (7th Cir. 2007) ([T]o establish a well-founded fear of future persecution, an alien must not only show that his or her fear is genuine but must establish that a reasonable person in the alien's circumstance would fear persecution.) The BIA has also identified four elements that an applicant must satisfy to establish a well-founded fear of persecution: (1) the applicant possesses a belief or characteristic that a persecutor seeks to overcome in others by means of punishment of some sort; (2) the persecutor is already aware, or could become aware that the alien possesses this belief or Continued on following page


Ms. XXX satisfies this test if (a) she subjectively fears persecution in Ethiopia on account of one or more recognized bases for asylum, (b) there is a reasonable possibility that she will suffer persecution if she returns to Ethiopia, and (c) she is unable or unwilling to return to, or availherself of the protection of [Ethiopia] because of such fear. 189 Ms. XXX meets all three parts of the test. a. Ms. XXX subjectively fears future persecution if forced to return to Ethiopia.

Ms. XXX strongly believes that if she is forced to return to Ethiopia, the government will persecute her on account of her political belief and that fact that she has sought refuge in the United States. 190 She therefore meets the first part of the test. 191 Ms. XXX experienced firsthand the governments persecution of OLF members and supporters. As discussed at length in Section IV.A. above, she has been unlawfully arrested, imprisoned and tortured because of her membership in the OLF. 192 Even after escaping from prison and traveling to the United States, the police continued to target her. In November 2004, the police delivered a letter to Ms. XXXs home in Addis Ababa demanding that she return for further questioning. 193 The letter read in pertinent part: Now, since your Investigation Office needs to ask you further questions, we strictly request you _____________________ Continued from previous page characteristic; (3) the persecutor has the capability of punishing the alien; and (4) the persecutor has the inclination to punish the alien. Matter of Mogharrabi, 19 I. & N. Dec. 439, 446 (BIA 1987) (recognized by the Seventh Circuit in Momalife v. I.N.S., No. 92-2048, 1992 WL 389224, at *5 & n.4 (7th Cir. 1992)). As discussed in greater detail below, these four elements are satisfied in this case. 189 8 C.F.R. 208.13(b)(2)(i)(A)-(C). 190 XXX Decl. 20, Ex. A. 191 See 8 C.F.R. 208.13(b)(2)(i)(B) 192 XXX Decl. 10, 13, Ex. A. 193 November 11, 2004 Letter from Addis Ababa City Administration Police Commission Police Commn Letter, attached hereto as Exhibit Q.


to come to our Investigation Office number six, within three days after you receive this letter. But if you dont comply with this request, we would like to inform you that we will take necessary measures. 194 When Ms. XXX did not respond to the letter, the police took her sister into custody where she endured interrogations and beatings. 195 Although the police released her sister after a month, Ms. XXX continues to suffer physical and emotional injuries. 196 In recent weeks, Ms. XXX has learned that the police commander, who accepted a bribe from her cousin to secure her release, has been imprisoned. 197 Upon learning of the police commanders arrest, Ms. XXXs cousin fled Addis Ababa because he feared for his own safety and security. 198 In light of the foregoing, there can be no doubt that the Ethiopian authorities are alerted to Ms. XXX and have actively been looking for her in the recent past. Ms. XXX was and still is genuinely and reasonably afraid that if she returns to Ethiopia, the police will find me, detain me, and torture me again; or, worse yet, I will disappear as my husband did. 199 Indeed, since her arrival in the United States, Ms. XXXs family has warned her (and continues to warn her) about returning to Ethiopia. 200 b. Ms. XXXs fear of persecution is objectively reasonable.

Ms. XXX also meets the second part of the test because there is a reasonable possibility that she will be persecuted if she is forced to return to Ethiopia. 201 . At present, the Ethiopian

194 Id., Ex. Q. 195 April 12, 2005 Letter from XXX 2005 XXX Letter, attached hereto as Exhibit R. 196 February 23, 2008 Letter from XXX 2008 XXX Letter, attached hereto as Exhibit S. 197 February 20, 2008 Letter from XXX 2008 XXX Letter, attached hereto as Ex. T. 198 Id., Ex. T. 199 XXX Decl. 20, Ex. A. 200 May 19, 2005 Letter from XXX 2005 XXX Letter, attached hereto as Ex. U; 2005 XXX Letter, Ex. R; 2008 XXX Letter, Ex. S. 201 8 C.F.R. 208.13(b)(2)(i)(B).


government continues to arbitrarily arrest, detain and torture OLF members and suspected supporters. 202 Indeed, numerous reports by credible agencies have consistently commented on the fact that the EPRDF regime in place now for almost 20 years continues to target individuals that it believes are members and supporters of the OLF. 203 Ms. XXX very likely faces a similar fate if forced to return. Her attendant fear of being returned to Ethiopia is therefore objectively reasonable. c. Ms. XXX is unable and unwilling to return to Ethiopia because of her well-founded fear of future persecution. The third and final part of the test requires Ms. XXX to demonstrate that she is unable or unwilling to return to Ethiopia because of her fear of future persecution. 204 . Ms. XXX will credibly testify at trial (consistent with her sworn affidavit) that she cannot return to Ethiopia because she would be persecuted for her political beliefs and membership in the OLF. She is afraid that she will be imprisoned and possibly made to disappear by the Ethiopian government with no regard for her rights. 205 Accordingly, Ms. XXX has demonstrated a well-founded fear of future persecution because she satisfies all three parts of the test. C. Discretionary Factors Support Granting Ms. XXX Asylum.

In considering whether to exercise discretion in favor of Ms. XXX, [t]he danger of persecution will outweigh all but the most egregious adverse factors. 206 There are no adverse factors relevant to Ms. XXXs claim. To the contrary, there are several reasons why the Court

202 2007 Country Report at 1, Ex. I. 203 Id. at 5, Ex. I; 2004 Country Report at 1, 5, Ex. J; HRW, Suppressing Dissent at 12-20, Ex. H. 204 8 C.F.R. 208.13(b)(2)(i)(C). 205 XXX Decl. 20, Ex. A. 206 In re Fauziya Kasinga, 21 I. & N. Dec. 357, 367 (June 13, 1996) (citations omitted).


should exercise its discretion in Ms. XXXs favor. First, Ms. XXX entered the United States in a lawful manner and timely applied for asylum after it became obvious to her that she could not return to Ethiopia. Second, Ms. XXX suffered severe emotional and physical trauma after her prolonged detention by the Ethiopian authorities. 207 While she has made inroads in coping with this residual trauma through psychiatric treatment, this progress would be thwarted if Ms. XXX faced return to Ethiopia. 208 Given this, even though Ms. XXX is statutorily eligible for asylum, there are also strong humanitarian reasons that should encourage the Court to exercise its discretion in her favor. 209 Moreover, since arriving in the United States, Ms. XXX has For

dedicated herself to assimilating into and becoming a productive member of society.

example, since 2005, Ms. XXX has been regularly taking English and computer training classes at a city college. 210 Additionally, over the past couple of years, a number of families have entrusted Ms. XXX with the care of their young children by employing her as a nanny. 211 As a nanny, Ms. XXX has proven herself to be dependable and extremely hardworking. 212 For all of these reasons, this Court should exercise its discretion to grant Ms. XXX asylum. V. ALTERNATIVELY, MS. XXX IS ENTITLED TO WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL. A. Ms. XXX Is Entitled to Withholding of Removal Under the INA.

If this Court denies Ms. XXXs application for asylum, she is entitled to withholding of removal pursuant to Section 241 of the INA, which prohibits the Attorney General from 207 XXX Aff. 15, 18, Ex. B; Gonzlez Decl. 4-5, 6(b)-(c), Ex. E. 208 XXX Decl. 22, Ex. A; XXX Medical Records from Kovler Center, Ex. V. 209 In re Chen, No. A-26219652, 20 I. & N. Dec. 16, 19, 1989 WL 331860 (BIA Apr. 25, 1998) (holding that, even in the absence of a finding of a well-founded fear of future persecution, an applicant who establishes severe persecution may be granted a favorable exercise of discretion for humanitarian reasons). 210 XXX Decl. 22, Ex. A. 211 Id., Ex. A; XXX Decl. 3-5, Ex. G. 212 XXX Decl. 3-5, Ex. G.


removing an alien to a country if the aliens life or freedom would be threatened in that country on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. 213 The United States Supreme Court has interpreted the phrase would be threatened to require a showing that it is more likely than not that the applicant will be subject to persecution upon deportation. 214 Once an applicant makes this showing, withholding of removal is mandatory. 215 As with asylum, where (as here) the applicant has shown past persecution, she is entitled to a presumption that her life or freedom would be threatened on return to that same country.216 This presumption may be rebutted only be a preponderance of the evidence establishing that conditions in that country have fundamentally changed such that it is no longer probable that she would be persecuted, or that she could avoid persecution by relocating within the country and that it would be reasonable for her to do so. 217 Ms. XXX is entitled to withholding of removal because, as detailed in Section IV.B., the government cannot prove that it is no longer more likely than not that Ms. XXX would be persecuted if forced to return to Ethiopia or that relocation within the country is a viable, reasonable alternative. B. Ms. XXX Is Entitled to Withholding of Removal Under the Convention Against Torture.

Finally, if the Court does not grant Ms. XXXs claim or her request for asylum, this Court should find Ms. XXX eligible for withholding of removal under Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture (the Convention). To qualify for relief under the Convention, an 213 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3)(A). 214 Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. at 430. 215 Id. at 443-44. 216 8 C.F.R. 208.16(b)(1)(i). 217 Id.


applicant must establish it is more likely than not she would be tortured if returned to the proposed country of removal. 218 The Convention defines torture as an act causing severe

physical or mental pain or suffering intentionally inflicted for a proscribed purpose. 219 The torture must be inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in official capacity. 220 Unlike for asylum eligibility, [t]he feared torture need not be on account of an enumerated basis. 221 In determining whether to withhold removal under Article 3 of the Convention, the Court may consider all evidence relevant to the possibility of future torture, including evidence of past torture and gross human rights violations. 222 As fully set forth above, for over four and a half months, the Ethiopian authorities tortured Ms. XXX to punish her opposition activities and extract information from her regarding the OLF. 223 Ms. XXX still bears the physical and emotional scars from this torture. 224 This past torture, coupled with the summons issued for Ms. XXX to appear at Police Station District 3, her sisters imprisonment, the fact that the Ethiopian authorities routinely monitor arriving airport passengers for known opposition group members, and the ongoing abuse of OLF members in Ethiopia, make it more likely than not that Ms. XXX will be tortured if she returned to Ethiopia. Accordingly, Ms. XXX is entitled to withholding of removal under the Convention. CONCLUSION

218 See 8 C.F.R. 208.16(c)(2). 219 See 8 C.F.R. 208.18(a)(1). 220 Id. 221 See Ochoa v. Gonzales, 406 F.3d 1166, 1172 (9th Cir. 2005). 222 See 8 C.F.R. 208.16(c)(3); Lhanzom v. XXX, 430 F.3d 833, 843 (7th Cir. 2005). 223 XXX Decl. 11-13, Ex. A. 224 XXX Aff. 15, 18, Ex. B.; XXX Decl. 4-5, 6b-c, Ex. E.


For all the reasons set forth above, and those presented at the Merits Hearing on March 31, 2008 at 9:00 a.m., Ms. XXX, by her attorneys, respectfully requests that this Court grant her request for asylum or, in the alternative, withholding of removal. Respectfully submitted, XXX XXX