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Federal appeals court orders review in gay Russian's asylum case

BY SUDHIN THANAWALA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court has ordered immigration officials to review their decision not to grant asylum to a gay man who said he was attacked for his sexual orientation in 2002 and 2003 in his native Russia and feared he would be persecuted if forced to return there.

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 man was only identified as "John Doe" in the opinion.

"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.

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