Immigration officials have been ordered to review the asylum request of a Russian man, identified only as "John Doe", who said he suffered attacks in the country in 2002 and 2003 because he is gay, the AP reports:
The U.S. Department of Justice's Board of Immigration Appeals was wrong when it concluded that the man had failed to show that government officials in Russia were either unwilling or unable to control his attackers, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday.
"The government failed to present any evidence to rebut Doe's undisputed testimony that he suffered serious assaults at the hands of individuals on account of his homosexuality or to show that the Russian government was able and willing to control non-governmental actors who attack homosexuals," the court said.
The SF Chronicle adds:
The court told the immigration board to reconsider the case and grant asylum unless the U.S. government presented evidence that conditions have improved in Russia and that it would be safe for the man to relocate somewhere in the country.
Such evidence might be hard to square with recent developments in Russia that have been condemned by the U.S. government. Russia has passed a law against "gay propaganda" and, while promising not to harass gay athletes at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, has done little to protect gays from a surge in harassment and assaults.