Saher J. Macarius, Avni J. Amin, Audrey Botros, and Law Offices of Saher J. Macarius, LLC, on brief, for petitioner.
Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Douglas E. Ginsburg, Assistant Director, Office of Immigration Litigation, and Rebekah Nahas, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, Department of Justice, on brief, for respondent.
Before LYNCH, Chief Judge, TORRUELLA and LIPEZ, Circuit Judges.
TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge.
Petitioner Kristo Ruci seeks review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals denying his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. Ruci contends that the Board erred in finding that the government's evidence of changed country conditions rebutted the presumption of relief raised by his past persecution on political and ethnic grounds. Because the evidence supports the Board's finding of materially changed country conditions since the petitioner's departure, we deny the petition for review.
I. Facts and Background
Following a hearing on April 4, 2011, an Immigration Judge (IJ) accepted the following evidence and testimony as truthful.
Kristo Ruci is a native and citizen of Albania. Although Ruci's family has resided in Albania for some time, it is Greek by origin. In 1956, Ruci's father was sentenced to sixteen years imprisonment for attempting to leave Albania for Greece.
In 1965, following his father's early release from prison, Ruci was born without medical care in an internment camp in Albania where his parents were then confined. Growing up in the internment camp, Ruci was not allowed to attend school beyond a certain age and was a social outcast among the local community. His family was subject to surveillance by the police, had its home searched frequently by officers, and was restricted from leaving the camp.
Beginning in young adulthood, Ruci became an active participant in the democratic resistance against the socialist regime. In late 1989, in June of 1990, and in March of 1991, Ruci participated in demonstrations against the Socialist Party organized by the Democratic Party and its followers. On each occasion, the demonstration was broken up by police officers who beat and arrested the demonstrators. In June of 1990, Ruci himself was arrested, severely beaten, and instructed to denounce his allegiances to the Democratic Party. In March of 1991, Ruci was again beaten and detained for several days by the police.
Although the Democratic Party won the general elections in 1992, by 1997 the Socialist Party regained control of the Parliament. The 1997 election led to a period of unrest, including the 1998 assassination of a prominent Democratic politician. In October of 2000, Ruci was warned by members of the Socialist Party that he should leave the Democratic Party or else face death. In November of 2001, Ruci had to be hospitalized overnight after he was attacked by two masked men, who beat him and ordered him to leave the Democratic Party. In February of 2002, unknown individuals fired upon Ruci's home while Ruci, his wife, and his two children were inside.
Following the February 2002 incident, Ruci and his family decided to leave Albania. On May 4, 2002, Ruci entered the United States illegally using a fraudulent passport. In the meantime, Ruci's wife and children left Albania for Greece, where they obtained visas to join Ruci in ...