Third Circuit Denies Homosexual Guyanese Torture Claim

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has denied a gay man’s petition for review of ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which denied his request for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), in Lancaster v. Attorney General, 2017 WL 2378197, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9651 (3rd Cir. May 11, 2017).

Petitioner was admitted to the United States at the age of six in 1985. He never became a U.S. citizen. In 2004, he was convicted of several bank robbery offenses and sentenced to 161 months imprisonment. He was placed in removal proceedings, where his only possible relief was deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner submitted three letters in support of his claim that he would be tortured in Guyana because he is homosexual: letters from an aunt and cousin who lived in Guyana, and a letter from a cousin in the United States. Petitioner testified that his family informed him that if he returned to Guyana that he would be killed because of his sexual orientation. The Immigration Judge (IJ) asked the Petitioner whether he could avoid harm by relocating within Guyana, or whether he could avoid harm by concealing his sexual orientation or not having sex with other men. The IJ stated that she gave “less weight” to the family letters, because their writers were not available for examination in court, and denied the CAT claim. The BIA affirmed the denial, stating that the IJ had properly given less weight to the family letters.

For the full story, access the Summer 2017 issue of LGBT Law Notes.