(CN) - A Guinea native's claim that he was detained and beaten in his home country qualifies as persecution, the 11th Circuit ruled, breathing new life into his petition to stay in the United States.
In February 2001, Thierno Diallo was arrested at a meeting of the anti-government group Ready People of Guinea. Diallo was allegedly detained for 11 hours and threatened with execution before he escaped and fled the country.
The Board of Immigration Appeals upheld an immigration judge's ruling that the alleged brief detention and minor beating didn't meet the standards of persecution.
The Atlanta-based appeals court vacated and remanded, saying Diallo faced a credible death threat, made in person by soldiers who had the ability to carry out that threat.
"A credible death threat by a person who has the immediate ability to act on it constitutes persecution regardless of whether the threat is successfully carried out," the three-judge panel wrote.
"We can see no reason why Diallo should have had to stay in his country -- awaiting his death at the hands of the soldiers who killed his brother -- to succeed on his claim of past persecution."
And because Diallo experienced past persecution, there is a well-founded fear that he would experience future persecution, the court concluded.