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Panoto v. Holder

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

October 22, 2014

MARLA PANOTO and ALAIN JUSOP WELLIAM RUNTUKAHU, Petitioners,
v.
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., United States Attorney General, Respondent

As corrected October 31, 2014.

Ilana Etkin Greenstein and Harvey Kaplan, on brief for petitioners.

Jane T. Schaffner, Trial Attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, Department of Justice, Blair T. O'Connor, Assistant Director, Office of Immigration Litigation, and Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, on brief for respondent.

Before Lynch, Chief Judge, Stahl and Barron, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 44

PETITION FOR REVIEW OF AN ORDER OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS

STAHL, Circuit Judge.

Petitioner Marla Panoto and her husband,[1] both Indonesian citizens, petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (" BIA" ) affirming an

Page 45

order of an Immigration Judge (" IJ" ) denying her request for asylum. Because the BIA gave an insufficient explanation of why Panoto failed to demonstrate that she suffered past persecution in Indonesia, we grant her petition for review, vacate the BIA's order of removal, and remand the case for further proceedings.

I. Facts & Background

Panoto is a Christian from Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country. According to the IJ's decision, Panoto testified that she experienced persecution as an Indonesian Christian and attributed the following incidents to her religious identity.

On Christmas Eve in 2000, a member of Panoto's congregation found a black box outside their church. Police officers determined that the item was a bomb and removed it before it could detonate. Panoto testified that local authorities did not investigate the event further.

Approximately six months later, in June 2001, Panoto was riding on a ferry boat when it was hijacked by Muslim extremists. Once aboard, the hijackers shouted for the Christian passengers to come forward. Panoto witnessed the militants slit an elderly Christian woman's throat, killing her. One extremist then yanked Panoto by the hair and slapped her, commanding that she state her ...


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