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Saturday, Nov. 19, 2005

Ministry petitioned on fate of despairing asylum-seeker

Staff writer

A petition urging the Justice Ministry not to appeal a court ruling recognizing an Afghan asylum-seeker as a refugee was presented to the ministry Friday.

The Tokyo District Court ruled on Nov. 11 that Ali Jane was a refugee, making it illegal for the Justice Ministry to deny him refugee status. The petition lodged on Jane's behalf bears more than 6,000 signatures.

Jane, 23, wrote "Kaasan Boku-wa Ikitemasu" ("Mother I'm Alive"), which details how he lived in fear of persecution under the Taliban regime in his homeland, as well as the problems he has faced here since fleeing.

"We want to ask the Justice Ministry to give up appealing the ruling and to recognize Jane as a refugee," said Koichi Kodama, Jane's lawyer.

"I want him to be able to live a stable, secure life because he has been forced to be in such an unstable environment for years."

Supporters started collecting names over the Internet and on the streets immediately after the ruling was issued. The deadline for the ministry to appeal is Nov. 25.

Jane arrived in Japan in August 2001, carrying a forged passport. He was immediately detained by immigration officials and spent seven months in detention. During that period, Jane said he tried to commit suicide twice amid despair over his future.

He applied for refugee status right away, but the Justice Ministry's Immigration Bureau rejected his bid in one month. He filed suit in December 2001, seeking to have the decision revoked in the courts.

Having seen friends killed in his homeland, Jane said he wants to become a doctor so he can help others in the future.

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The Japan Times

Article 8 of 15 in National news

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