Somali asylum seeker stays in immigration jail

By Greg Moran
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at midnight

FEDERAL COURT — A federal judge dismissed a bid yesterday from lawyers for a Somali man seeking asylum to force the government to show why keeping him in an immigration jail is necessary.

District Judge Jeffrey Miller turned aside a series of arguments from Abdalla Warsame Abdille that sought to force the government to show at a hearing why he should remain in custody, and why he is not suitable to be released on parole while his case proceeds.

Abdille’s asylum bid was denied by an immigration judge in 2008. While she found his claims that he was tortured and abused in his native country to be credible, his application was denied because government lawyers claimed he had given material support to a terrorist organization.

That stemmed from an incident where members of the terrorist group forced Abdille at gunpoint to stand in a road and hold a gun. Abdille had witnessed a cousin refuse the same order and get shot to death by the men, according to court records.

His lawyers contend he held the gun under duress only.

The immigration judge agreed he acted under duress, but ruled that giving material support to terrorists bars entry into the country.

Abdille is appealing that decision, which could take years. Miller said the 15 months Abdille has spent in custody does not amount to prolonged detention. ... tion-jail/