U.S. Grants Asylum to Bipolar Man because in Tanzania Mentally Ill are Tortured and Considered Possessed by Demons
A federal appeals court has overruled immigration officials who tried to deport a mentally ill man back to Tanzania, where such people are tortured and considered demonic.
Tumaini Temu came to the United States last decade after he suffered a mental breakdown following the death of his mother in an auto accident.
His condition resulted in being hospitalized and imprisoned in his native country. He claimed that medical professionals treated him with prolonged shackling (five to seven hours a day, four days a week) and beatings with leather straps and clubs.
Many Tanzanians believe severe mental illness is shameful and even a sign of demonic possession, what they call “mwenda wazimu.”
The abuse led to Temu fleeing his country and arriving in the U.S. But his temporary visa expired in 2006.
The Department of Homeland Security started deportation proceedings four years later. Temu pleaded with immigration officials to not send him back to Tanzania, and asked for asylum under the Convention Against Torture. His defense was based on the argument that his mental illness put him in a persecuted social group in his home country.
An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals rejected Temu’s application for asylum. He then appealed his case to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a divided three-judge panel reversed the deportation order.
“During his manic episodes, Mr. Temu believes he has superhuman powers,” Judge Roger Gregory wrote for the majority. “He is visibly erratic and often walks into busy intersections to direct traffic because he thinks he has the ability to prevent car accidents.”
“Throughout all his hospitalizations, the nurses referred to Mr. Temu as ‘mwenda wazimu.’ The record also shows that while binding Mr. Temu and bearing him with leather straps, the nurses at Muhimbili Hospital said on multiple occasions, ‘this is how we treat people who are mentally ill like you.’”
To Learn More:
Mentally Ill African Granted U.S. Asylum (by Dan McCue, Courthouse News Service)
Tumaini Geofrey Temu v. Eric Holder (Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals)
Should U.S. Provide Asylum to Mexicans Fleeing Drug Violence? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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