Federal court lets LDS couple remain in U.S.

A federal appeals court has reversed a decision that would have sent a Mormon couple back home to Colombia, where they say they were threatened because of their religious and political activity.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Board of Immigration Appeals to reconsider the case of Herbert Douglas Moscoso-Morales and his wife, Nancy, citing a written death threat delivered in 2002 to the couple’s home.

“We know of all your political and informant activities for your Mormon cult,” the letter stated, and told them to be gone within 24 hours or be “eliminated.”

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The couple fled to Salt Lake City and began their battle to gain political asylum.

In its July 14 ruling, the Denver-based appeals court said the letter was evidence that the couple had “a well-founded fear of future persecution” should they return home.

According to court records, Moscoso-Morales was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was active in church work, and for the past few years had worked as a teacher at a high school in Ibague, about 100 miles west of Bogota.

He said he joined the political campaign of a fellow church member and also worked with a group dedicated to rooting out corruption in city government.

A few years ago, he said a man told him that he should be instructing his students to become part of FARC, a revolutionary group in Colombia, but he instead denounced the group. As a result, Moscoso-Morales said he was beaten up and received threatening phone calls over several months, in addition to the threatening letter.

While in the United States, the couple said a member of their political organization had been assassinated. An immigration judge had previously ruled that Moscoso-Morales had failed to establish a well-founded fear of persecution.

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AP, via DeseretNews.com, USA
July 29, 2006

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