(CN) - An immigration judge relied on "too thin a reed" in refusing to let a 57-year-old Kenyan woman stay in the United States based on her claim that she faced persecution for supporting a Kenyan opposition group.
. The immigration judge rejected the asylum bid of Ellinah Kalumu Mutuku after ruling that her request was too late, that her claims of past persecution were not credible, and that Kenya is no longer a dangerous place for members of the Democratic Party, a leading opposition party in the early 1990s.
Mutuku had worked for Lutheran World Relief, a Christian organization, and was an organizer and supporter of the Democratic Party in Kenya. She claimed that her house was burned down and she, her sister and her mother were harassed and beaten by armed men who belonged to the Kanu Party.
She was eventually forced to flee Kenya.
Mutuku appealed the immigration judge's findings, and a three-judge panel in Pasadena said Mutuku should be eligible to challenge her deportation based on her alleged fear of future persecution.
"The [immigration judge] relied heavily on the first sentence for the first paragraph of the State Department's 2002 Human Right's Country Report for Kenya which states that 'Kenya is a republic dominated by a strong presidency,'" Judge Harry Pregerson wrote. "This sentence is too thin a reed on which to deny Mutuku withholding of removal."
But the panel upheld dismissal of Mutuku's asylum bid and her claims under the Convention Against Torture.