The administration’s position and a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of an Eritrean prison guard are wrong on the law’s language, wrong on Congress’ intent and wrong under the international treaty obligation that triggered enactment of the law, argued the guard’s high court counsel, Andrew J. Pincus, a partner in the Washington office of Mayer Brown on Nov. 5. Negusie v. Mukasey, No. 07-499.

Pincus, supported by human rights groups, religious organizations and international law scholars, told the justices that the so-called persecutor bar to asylum and withholding of removal in the Immigration and Nationality Act contains a duress exception, and that is supported as well by criminal and civil law principles holding that individuals should not be punished for involuntary acts.

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