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CA7 on Political Opinion, Palestine: Jabr v. Holder

April 04, 2013 (1 min read)

"The issue here is whether Jabr sufficiently showed that the persecution he endured was on account of a statutorily protected ground. The IJ concluded that members of the PIJ were simply interested in recruiting Jabr and found nothing in the record to suggest that they beat him because of his political opinion or allegiance to the Fatah group. The Board similarly concluded that the men who attacked Jabr did not say anything that would indicate they beat him on account of either an express or imputed political opinion. However, significant evidence in the record contradicts this conclusion. ... Jabr did not refuse to cooperate with the PIJ because joining them was against the law, see Hernandez-Baena v. Gonzales, 417 F.3d 720, 723 (7th Cir. 2005), or because he was afraid of retaliation by the government, see Elias-Zacarias, 502 U.S. at 480. He refused because he was politically opposed to the PIJ, and he directly communicated that disagreement to them. See Martinez-Buendia, 616 F.3d at 718. The fact that Jabr did not hold a “notable” political position of leadership within the Fatah movement—an assertion put forth by the IJ—is of no moment. We have never held that a petitioner must occupy a leadership position within his political or social group in order to receive asylum protection. All the petitioner needs to show is that his persecutor’s conduct was on account of an express or imputed political opinion, which Jabr has clearly demonstrated here. ... For the foregoing reasons, we GRANT the petition for review, VACATE the order of removal, and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with this opinion." - Jabr v. Holder, Apr. 2, 2013.

[Hats off to Shannon M. Shepherd!]