In this petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Ofosu seeks review of a July 25, 1994 final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") denying his application for asylum under 8 U.S.C. § 1158 and for withholding of return under 8 U.S.C. § 1253(h), denying his motion to reopen the exclusion proceedings, and ordering his exclusion from the United States.
Ofosu has conceded excludability. What he challenges is the denial of his request for asylum or for withholding of return.
The sole testimony at the hearing, held July 26, 1993, on Ofosu's excludability and on his request for asylum or the withholding of return was that of Ofosu himself. Ofosu testified that, prior to leaving Ghana, he worked for the government as a member of the Committee for Defense of the Revolution ("CDR"). Because he had disobeyed a CDR order to arrest political protestors at a rally, he believed he would be arrested upon his return to Ghana. Ofosu testified that the CDR was established by "Rawlings," (misspelled in the transcript as "Rollins") to work "alongside the police."
R. 204. Ofosu became a member of the CDR in 1984 and, after a six month training period, he worked full time and was paid. R. 205-07.
As a member of the CDR, "spying" was something he did on a regular basis, even after working hours. "If I see something that was not, uh, that was against the government, I had to act. So it looks like I was always on duty." R. 207. Ofosu was a senior officer in the CDR and had "extra responsibility." R. 226. One of Ofosu's duties was to inform the government about people who spoke against Rawlings or sought to form political parties. Anyone who spoke against Rawlings was considered a criminal. R. 228. Most people arrested by the CDR were not charged with any crime. R. 211.
Ofosu never made any arrests alone. He reported what he saw and then, as a senior officer, he would accompany other CDR members and, as a group, they would make the arrests. R. 207, 230-31. When asked to describe the difference between the police and members of the CDR, Ofosu explained that the police were responsible for criminal cases, and the duties of the CDR "were only something that concerns the government. When you do something against the government. We-we usually go in with force." R. 205. By "go in with force" he meant that, in contrast with the police, who had to have warrants showing their authority to make an arrest and who could be questioned by the people being arrested, members of the CDR made arrests without warrants and answered no questions. R. 229-30. Because of this, "people were not scared of the police as they were scared us [sic]." R. 229. He testified that "in the beginning, we were not after political opponents we were after smugglers and other-- but later on, when, uh, it turn [sic] out that we were sent to arrest people opposed to [the government], that's when I started not to like what I was doing." R. 234.
Ofosu's testimony established that the terms of detention for political dissidents were often severe. He testified that, "when a club or political party is not in an advanced state, when members were arrested, they were put in custody for about two months . . . But when the political party or a club in an advanced state [sic], members were arrested indefinitely." R. 229. Ofosu never questioned the people he arrested, but simply turned them over to senior CDR officers or to soldiers. R. 232. Although some members of the CDR were given weapons, he was not selected to carry a weapon. With regard to the number of arrests Ofosu made, he testified:
I have made so many arrest, I cannot give you the number. That's why I'm scared of my life [sic], because now I--that I am [an] enemy to the general public because of the arrest that I've made, I'm now [an] enemy to the government because of the way I arrest--I deserted the government. Now I don't have a stand. People, the people from the general public don't like me, the government doesn't like me.
Other than one person, who received a trial and whom he saw shot by a firing squad, Ofosu never saw anyone killed, but he thought that some of those arrested had been killed. R. 232-33. He also testified that he had never seen anyone being tortured, but most of the people arrested by the CDR were tortured, and he had seen one person after that person had been tortured. R. 233.
On the morning of February 17, 1992, Ofosu was ordered by a superior to make arrests at a rally to be held that day by members of the Ghanian Democratic Union ("GDU"), a political group that opposed the government. R. 214. Ofosu testified that, while he had never attended any meetings of the GDU, he "liked them because, uh, by that time there was nobody in Ghana that speak [sic] against [Rawlings]." R. 215. As approximately thirty-five CDR members set off to the rally, Ofosu tried to convince some of the officers that they should not make arrests:
On the way going, I started convincing them that I did not see why those people should be arrested because they have done nothing, and what they were saying was the truth. So why are we -- after we go the rally, we did not know what to do. Because though we had a position among us, nobody knew what to do.