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Nadeem v. Holder

March 30, 2010

MUHAMMAD AFZAL NADEEM, PETITIONER,
v.
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR.,*FN1 ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, RESPONDENT.



Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Benton, Circuit Judge.

Submitted: December 17, 2009

Before LOKEN, Chief Judge, BENTON, Circuit Judge, and VIKEN,*fn2 District Judge.

Muhammad Afzal Nadeem appeals the final decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals denying asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. Having jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252, this court affirms.

I.

Nadeem, a Pakistani citizen, entered the United States in 2000 on a valid visa, but stayed beyond the time authorized. In 2003, he requested asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture, based on his fear of political persecution in Pakistan.

At a hearing before the immigration judge, Nadeem testified that his political involvement led to death threats and demands that he cease campaign-related activities. He claimed that his political rivals ransacked his store and severely beat him following a 1997 election. Nadeem also said that police later abducted him from his home at midnight, and bound, hanged, and tortured him in an unknown location. He further alleged that his political rivals repeatedly opened fire outside his home and threatened his family.

Nadeem offered the testimony of a friend, documentary evidence (detailing a severe psychiatric disorder), records of medical treatment, arrests, and two letters from Pakistani attorneys. Nadeem's other evidence of torture included articles and reports about his arrest and the political climate in Pakistan.

The Department of Homeland Security submitted evidence that it could not authenticate several of Nadeem's documents. A State Department investigative report questioned the accuracy of Nadeem's statements about the time of his arrest and later medical treatment.

Citing inconsistencies in Nadeem's asylum application, declarations, and written records, the immigration judge concluded that he was not credible and denied relief. The judge doubted the veracity of Nadeem's arrest records and medical report, noting that the arrest documents appeared to be fabricated and the medical report did not clearly show that Nadeem was the subject of it. The medical report also made no mention of injuries that Nadeem would likely sustain if tortured by the police. The State Department investigation concluded that the arrest information offered by Nadeem was contradicted by a report on file in Pakistan. The Pakistani arrest warrant was signed by a judge never posted to the issuing court. Further, the judge found that Nadeem's testimony conflicted with his asylum application and witness testimony. Nadeem failed to mention that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and stated a time of abduction by the police that contradicted the time alleged by his supporting witness and claimed in his asylum application. The judge also doubted the veracity of the letters from the Pakistani attorneys because they contained identical language, common errors, and the same allegations about the danger Nadeem faced in Pakistan.

The immigration judge declined to accept Nadeem's rebuttal reasons for the inconsistencies. Nadeem claimed he made no mention of his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because he was not diagnosed with the disorder until after entering the United States. He contended that the difference in the time of his abduction was immaterial, also asserting that it reflected a cultural difference in the description of "midnight." His witness disagreed with his assertion, and the court rejected all of his rebuttal arguments.

The immigration judge also found Nadeem statutorily ineligible for asylum because he did not file his asylum application within one year after entering the United States. The BIA dismissed his appeal.

II.

Nadeem argues that he presented sufficient evidence to warrant political asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. He also maintains that the BIA abused its discretion and violated his due process rights ...


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