Kodjo Kegeh, also known as Jean-Paul Christian Kegeh Petitioner
Jefferson B. Sessions, III, Attorney General of the United States Respondent
Submitted: March 7, 2017
for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals
WOLLMAN, MELLOY, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
Kegeh applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and
protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The
Immigration Judge (IJ) denied all three applications. Kegeh
appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which
affirmed the IJ's decision. Kegeh petitions for review,
arguing that the IJ and the BIA erred in denying his
applications. We deny the petition because Kegeh has failed
to meet his burden: to show that any reasonable adjudicator
would be compelled to find in his favor.
1969, the West African nation of Togo has been governed by a
single national political party. After the death of the
previous president in 2005, Faure Gnassingbe became president
by military fiat. In April of that year, a presidential
election was held. Gnassingbe was elected president, but the
election process was marred by irregularities and violence.
Under pressure from the international community to change,
President Gnassingbe and members of some opposition parties
signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2006. One
opposition party, the UFC, declined to join. Kodjo Kegeh was
a member of the UFC.
is a citizen and native of Togo, and his native language is
French. He was admitted to the United States as a
nonimmigrant visitor on March 1, 2011, with permission to
remain here until August 31, 2011. He did not leave by that
date and has remained in this country ever since. In late
2011, he submitted applications for asylum, withholding of
removal, and protection under the CAT to the Department of
Homeland Security's United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS).
application was accompanied by an affidavit. His attorney
helped him prepare both documents. According to Kegeh, he
prepared both documents in French, and then his French was
translated into English. The English translation was then
read back to him in French. Kegeh stated that he was aware of
what was in his application and affidavit.
February 2012, an asylum officer from USCIS interviewed
Kegeh. Later that month, USCIS referred Kegeh to removal
proceedings before an IJ after concluding that Kegeh lacked
credibility and provided testimony inconsistent with his
affidavit. Removal proceedings then began pursuant to 8
U.S.C. § 1227(a)(1)(B).
hearings before an IJ, Kegeh testified that he represented
the UFC at a poll station during the April 2005 presidential
election. After the voting closed and the ballots were being
counted, military forces appeared and violence broke out.
Kegeh testified that soldiers started beating people and
using tear gas on them, but he did not mention soldiers
shooting or using real bullets.
the election results were announced two days later, and
Gnassingbe was elected president, Kegeh and other members of
the UFC protested. Kegeh testified that the military came to
the protest armed with guns but did not use them against the
while later, Kegeh and others were kidnapped by the military.
Soldiers took him into a military barracks where he was
subjected to severe physical abuse. The next day, he and the
others were driven out to a field. The beatings began again,
and Kegeh fell unconscious. He testified that the next memory
he had was waking up in a clinic with severe burns on his
chest and torso. Kegeh avers that the military set him and
the others on fire after the beatings. Villagers found him
barely alive and took him to the clinic. In a 2012 letter
purportedly from Kegeh's wife but written by a pastor in
Togo, she confirms that Kegeh was beaten and burned in April
2005. At the hearing, Kegeh began to lift his shirt to ...