Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Charles: CAT and Haitian prisons

Charles v. BICE
Filed 11/28/05, No. 04-1342
Not precedential

The Convention Against Torture (also known as CAT) was passed by Congress to prevent deporting anyone to a country where there is a greater than 50% chance that they will be tortured. It is extremely hard to prove, but the law will protect those who can gather sufficient proof that they will be tortured.

This case, and cases before this (and likely afterwards, too) focuses on whether the brutal, deplorable, and inhumane prison conditions in Haiti can be considered torture for the purpose of seeking CAT relief. In this non-precedential decision, the Third Circuit chose to continue its position that the brutal conditions are not torture because they are not "inflicted with the specific intent to cause severe physical or mental pain and suffering." This keeps in line with its decision in Auguste v. Ridge, 394 F.3d 123 (3d Cir. 2005).

If you have this issue, read the excellent advisory provided by the American Immigration Law Foundation. As more reports of prison conditions in Haiti are issued, do not be surprised if this issue is raised several more times. And there is a possibility that the court will change its mind in the future and rule that brutal, inhumane conditions in Haitian prisons can constitute torture.


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