U.S. court clears way for man to be sent back to persecutors
WorldNetDaily | August 31, 2005
A Chinese man tortured for his Christian faith is fighting for the right to stay in the U.S. and not be deported back to his homeland where he faces two years of imprisonment for illegally practicing his religion.
The Alliance Defense Fund has taken up the asylum cause of Li Xiaodong of Ningbo, China, under the Convention Against Torture Act. On Aug. 9 a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit denied Li's request to stay in the U.S. The religious-liberty law group says it will appeal the decision.
"In one of the most egregious religious persecution cases coming out of China in recent years, we will seek review of the case by the full 5th Circuit, and if denied, appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court," said ADF Chief Counsel Benjamin Bull in a statement.
The 5th Circuit found that in 1995 Li was a member of an underground evangelical Christian church meeting at his home on Sundays. He was arrested for holding an illegal church service and then interrogated at length at the local police department for "being a reactionary."
Li was handcuffed, beaten and had his hair pulled. He was then kicked, forced to kneel, and hit with a police bar when the Chinese police did not like Li's responses to their questions, according to the three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit. Li was jailed for five days and then forced by the police to clean public toilets without pay.
That same year, Li obtained a visa and left China, fearing further torture and imprisonment.
According to the court's decision in Li v. Gonzales, Li's case reflected "that the Chinese government ... [has] harassed, interrogated, detained, and physically abused members of unauthorized religious groups."
Even so, the court ruled against Li's request, agreeing with action by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which had overturned an immigration judge's decision to honor the Christian's asylum request.
"The three-judge panel erred as a matter of law and as a matter of human rights," stated ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman, Li's attorney. "This is one of the most clear-cut cases imaginable, and the torture and persecution for merely being a Christian are undisputed. We just hope that fear of embarrassing China did not play a role in this terrible decision."
ADF pointed out that on Aug. 13, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted asylum to a Mexican national on the grounds that being a homosexual would subject him to persecution in Mexico.