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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian’s bid for asylum blocked in US

Cambodian’s bid for asylum blocked in US

AUNITED States appeal court has blocked an asylum claim from a Cambodian who has said she fears ill-treatment at the hands of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), upholding an earlier ruling by the US board of immigration appeals.

A legal memorandum submitted to the US court of appeals for the ninth circuit on March 10 noted that the asylum applicant, Mealdey Suong, had claimed to be a member of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, and had stated in her asylum application that the CPP “threatened to kill her at her workplace” in Cambodia.

However, the court ruled that discrepancies between her testimony and her asylum declaration, including factual inconsistencies concerning the date of her SRP membership and the death threats she said she received, forced it to uphold the board of immigration appeal’s ruling.

“The Immigration Judge denied Suong’s applications for asylum and withholding of removal, finding that she failed to testify credibly in support of her claims,” the memorandum stated. It did not say when Mealdey Suong arrived in the US.

When asked on Tuesday about Mealdey Suong’s claims, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he did not know anything about the case, but that he trusted the US courts to make an impartial decision. “The US has enough knowledge about this case to make a judgment,” he said.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he did not recognise the woman’s name, but that he would look into the matter.

In October, the court rejected the asylum applications of two other Cambodians, Kin Sombath and wife Prak Bunnary, who claimed to be SRP members. The pair, who entered the US during 2001 and 2002 without visas or other entry documents, also said they feared CPP retribution after they participated in a 1998 political rally.

The court rejected their claim due to a series of inconsistencies between their testimonies and those of other witnesses.



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