Hor v. Gonzales, No. 04-1964.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtPosner
Citation421 F.3d 497
Decision Date29 August 2005
Docket NumberNo. 04-1964.
PartiesAbdelhadi HOR, Petitioner, v. Alberto R. GONZALES, Respondent.
421 F.3d 497
Abdelhadi HOR, Petitioner,
v.
Alberto R. GONZALES, Respondent.
No. 04-1964.
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
Argued June 10, 2005.
Decided August 29, 2005.

Page 498

Enrique Perez (argued), Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, Chicago, IL, for Petitioner.

Karen Lundgren, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the District Counsel, Chicago, IL, Larry P. Cote (argued), Department of Justice, Civil Division, Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, for Respondent.

Before FLAUM, Chief Judge, and POSNER and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

POSNER, Circuit Judge.


Abdelhadi Hor was ordered removed from the United States after his claim of asylum was denied. A motions panel of this court denied his motion to stay his removal, on the ground that the probability that he could persuade the merits panel to reverse the order of removal was low. Hor v. Gonzales, 400 F.3d 482, 485-86 (7th Cir.2005). A merits panel, however, is authorized to reexamine a ruling made by a motions panel. In re HealthCare Compare Corp. Securities Litigation, 75 F.3d 276, 279-80 (7th Cir.1996); Johnson v. Burken, 930 F.2d 1202, 1205 (7th Cir.1991). We don't know whether Hor has been removed from this country as yet as a result of the denial of the stay, but it makes no difference; the alien's departure no longer moots his challenge to a removal order. Lopez-Chavez v. Ashcroft, 383 F.3d 650, 651 (7th Cir.2004); Patel v. Ashcroft, 378 F.3d 610, 612 (7th Cir.2004); Rife v. Ashcroft, 374 F.3d 606, 615 (8th Cir.2004).

Hor is an Algerian with a technical background who before coming to the United States on a visitor's visa in 2000 was the chief information officer for a large government-owned manufacturer.

Page 499

He was also an active member of the FLN, the ruling political party of Algeria. In March of 2000 he was stopped at a roadblock set up by members of GIA (Groupe islamique armé), the military wing of the radical Islamic movement that is engaged in what amounts to a civil war with the Algerian government. Ahmed v. Ashcroft, 348 F.3d 611, 614 (7th Cir.2003); Debab v. INS, 163 F.3d 21, 23 (1st Cir.1998); U.S. State Department, Country Report on Algeria (2004); U.S. State Department, Report on Human Rights Practices in Algeria (2005); U.S. State Department, Fact Sheet on Foreign Terrorist Organizations (2005), http://www.state .gov/s/ct/rls/fs/37191.htm; U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, World Fact Book on Algeria (2005), http://www.cia.gov /cia/publications/factbook/geos/ag. html; Amnesty International, Algeria: Asylum-Seekers Fleeing a Continuing Human Rights Crisis, June 2003, http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ ENGMDE280072003. Taken at gunpoint before a leader of the GIA, Hor was ordered to furnish the organization with a list of active members of the FLN and with the security plan of his employer. He was released after promising to comply. He didn't comply, but instead reported the incident forthwith to the Algerian military, which told him that it couldn't protect everyone threatened by the GIA — even an army veteran, as Hor was. It gave him some advice on how to avoid falling into the GIA's clutches.

Five months later, Hor was stopped at another GIA roadblock. Armed men ordered him to lie down on the ground and told him they were going to execute him on the spot in retaliation for his having failed to supply the GIA with the promised information. Hor's uncle, like him an active member of the FLN, had been killed just this way a year earlier. But the police had received a tip about the roadblock, arrived just in time, killed two of the armed men, and saved Hor. Shortly afterwards, following a visit to a psychiatrist who diagnosed Hor as suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, and also following the issuance of a "decision" by an Algerian court that "recommend[ed] that [Hor] should be extra cautious and keep low profile," Hor left Algeria for the United States.

He claims that he was persecuted in Algeria on account of his political activity and is at high risk of further persecution if he returns. His testimony, if believed, established persecution. Compare INS v. Elias-Zacarias, 502 U.S. 478, 481-83, 112 S.Ct. 812, 117 L.Ed.2d 38 (1992); Ahmed v. Ashcroft, supra, 348 F.3d at 614-16. The immigration judge, seconded by the Board of Immigration Appeals, rejected the claim. The judge believed Hor's testimony about "his involvement with the political party, and his genuine fear of harm," but not about his encounters with the GIA. The judge didn't think the GIA would have allowed five months to elapse from the first encounter before trying to kill Hor for breaking his promise to give the group information: "the Court [i.e., the immigration judge] believes they would have approached the respondent or harmed the respondent long before five months have passed." The judge also didn't believe that, given Hor's status as a veteran and the sensitive information he possessed because of his job, the Algerian military would have refused to protect him against the GIA; or that the GIA could have known that the second roadblock would intercept him, because he was traveling to a seminar when he was stopped rather than to or from work. The judge thought that if Hor's story were true, the GIA would have killed members of Hor's family in revenge, which it has not done.

He noted further that Hor had failed to submit newspaper accounts or other documentary

Page 500

records of the shoot-out at the second roadblock. He also thought it suspicious that the psychiatrist's report did not mention the cause of Hor's post-traumatic stress syndrome. He could "not fully comprehend the purpose of the [Algerian] Court decision recommending that the respondent be extra cautious and keep a low profile. The respondent himself was fully aware that he should keep a low profile and be very cautious, and he did not...

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43 practice notes
  • Grace v. Barr, No. 19-5013
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 17, 2020
    ...standard, never actually required asylum applicants to meet that higher standard. See, e.g. , Hor v. Gonzales , 421 F.3d 497, 502 (7th Cir. 2005) (finding military's inability to protect petitioner and court's inability to offer relief "strong evidence" that Algerian government wa......
  • Guzman-Vazquez v. Barr, No. 19-3417
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • May 18, 2020
    ..."reasonably available," without a track record of the applicant carrying out futile attempts to secure it. See Hor v. Gonzales , 421 F.3d 497, 500–01 (7th Cir. 2005) (faulting the IJ for ignoring objective country conditions that rendered certain court documents not reasonably ava......
  • Cece v. Holder, No. 11–1989.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 9, 2013
    ...risk Cece faces comes from criminals, not from the government, yet “persecution” means mistreatment at public hands. See Hor v. Gonzales, 421 F.3d 497 (7th Cir.2005); Bitsin v. Holder, 719 F.3d 619, 628–31 (7th Cir.2013). Crime may be rampant in Albania, but it is common in the United State......
  • Cece v. Holder, No. 11-1989
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 9, 2013
    ...faces comes from criminals, not from the government, yet "persecution" means mistreatment at public hands. See Hor v. Gonzales, 421 F.3d 497 (7th Cir. 2005); Bitsin v. Holder, 719 F.3d 619, 628-31 (7th Cir. 2013). Crime may be rampant in Albania, but it is common in the United Sta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
43 cases
  • Grace v. Barr, No. 19-5013
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 17, 2020
    ...standard, never actually required asylum applicants to meet that higher standard. See, e.g. , Hor v. Gonzales , 421 F.3d 497, 502 (7th Cir. 2005) (finding military's inability to protect petitioner and court's inability to offer relief "strong evidence" that Algerian government wa......
  • Guzman-Vazquez v. Barr, No. 19-3417
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • May 18, 2020
    ..."reasonably available," without a track record of the applicant carrying out futile attempts to secure it. See Hor v. Gonzales , 421 F.3d 497, 500–01 (7th Cir. 2005) (faulting the IJ for ignoring objective country conditions that rendered certain court documents not reasonably ava......
  • Cece v. Holder, No. 11–1989.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 9, 2013
    ...risk Cece faces comes from criminals, not from the government, yet “persecution” means mistreatment at public hands. See Hor v. Gonzales, 421 F.3d 497 (7th Cir.2005); Bitsin v. Holder, 719 F.3d 619, 628–31 (7th Cir.2013). Crime may be rampant in Albania, but it is common in the United State......
  • Cece v. Holder, No. 11-1989
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 9, 2013
    ...faces comes from criminals, not from the government, yet "persecution" means mistreatment at public hands. See Hor v. Gonzales, 421 F.3d 497 (7th Cir. 2005); Bitsin v. Holder, 719 F.3d 619, 628-31 (7th Cir. 2013). Crime may be rampant in Albania, but it is common in the United Sta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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