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Police and forensic investigators stand over the body of 18-year-old Cristian Orellana after he was killed alongside two of his friends after playing soccer in the Chamelecon neighborhood of San Pedro Sula, Honduras on July 14, 2018. Police said the killings are related to a territorial dispute between the gangs Barrio-18 and MS-13. Photo: Esteban Felix/AP

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Friday rejected the asylum claim of a man who was twice beaten for his refusal to join MS-13 in El Salvador, finding that his opposition to the infamous international gang did not qualify as a political opinion under U.S. immigration law.

The ruling, from a divided panel of the Manhattan-based appeals court, upheld a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which found in the case of Douglas Adrian Zelaya-Moreno that “refusing to join a gang without more does not constitute a political opinion” that could entitle him to asylum protections.

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Tom McParland

Tom McParland of New York Law Journal can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TMcParlandALM.

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