Excerpts from Rrustem Neza’s Dec. 21, 2007 appeal to have his asylum hearing reopened by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Atlanta:
Had Mr. Neza been allowed effectively to present his asylum claim to the immigration judge, he would have proven his well founded fear of persecution was based not merely on his membership in the Albanian Democratic Party, but also on his knowledge of the killing of Azem Hajdari, to which his brother was an eye witness. See, Affidavit of Xhemal Neza (AR 46-9).
The affidavit shows that, in Tirana, Sali Berisha’s body guard lured Hajdari into an ambush, in which Hajdari and his body guard were murdered, and Zenel Neza, a cousin of Mr. Neza, was badly injured.
After Mr. Neza’s brother was severely injured by police fire in a demonstration against the murders, Mr. Neza fled to the city of Tropoje, where he addressed a crowd and said his brother Xhemel had seen the killings and identified the murderers by name.
Mr. Neza’s brother Xhemal went into hiding and his cousin Selim Neza, whose nickname was Skender, was murdered while driving Xhemal to another hiding place.
Mr. Neza hid at Llugu-zi with Xhemal and their cousin Gani Neza, who was the brother of the murdered Skender. Mr. Neza and Gani arranged to
leave Albania, but Gani was murdered when he tried to pick up his wife and children for the voyage.
Soon afterward, Mr. Neza and his family made their way to Belgium, and from there to the United States.
The report of the Albanian Telegraph Agency, 25 May 1999, corroborating the murder of Mr. Neza’s cousin Gani Neza (AR 50-1, 85-6) was available to Mr. Neza’s attorney, but he did not introduce it into evidence. He apparently did not even know about it.
The attorney could have obtained and offered the statement of Zenel Neza, Rrustem’s cousin, and Hajdari’s body guard, who was badly wounded in the assassination but survived, but the attorney did not do so. See, Statement of Zenel Neza (AR 52-4).
Because the death certificates of the murdered brothers Skender and Gani were not translated and not submitted before trial, the immigration judge refused to admit them into evidence.
[Rrustem Neza] had fled to the mountains to hide with [his brother] Xhemal and [his cousin] Gani, after Gani’s brother Skender was murdered. He had watched Skender’s funeral through binoculars. While Rrustem and Gani were arranging to flee the country, Gani was murdered.
Rrustem had ridden with Xhemal from Tirana to Tropoje in the car with the bullet-riddled body of his cousin Zenel, while Xhemal told him about the murder of Hajdari and who the killers were. Xhemal had seen everything personally. Later, while Xhemal was unconscious in hospital, Rrustem had told a crowd of people who the killers were.
Rrustem did not have a passport, because he was afraid to make his whereabouts known to the Albanian government.
The BICE has obtained travel documents, however, and his deportation is imminent. Xhemal swears on his mother’s life that Rrustem will be murdered promptly if he is returned to Albania.
Meanwhile, Rrustem Neza remains at the Rolling Plains Prison of Haskell, Texas, where he has been held since Feb. 2007, separated from his wife and children.–gm