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Dear Editor:
Stop Family Violence issued the following press release.

For ten years, Rodi Alvarado Pena was brutally beaten by her husband in Guatemala. Her husband raped her repeatedly, attempted to abort their second child by kicking her in the spine, dislocated her jaw, tried to cut her hands off with a machete, kicked her in the genitals, and broke windows with her head. Ms. Alvarado sought assistance from the Guatemalan police and the courts but was refused official protection. Desperate, she fled to the US in search of safety. For the past eight years, Ms. Alvarado has been engaged in another kind of fight a fight to stay in the US. In 1996, she was granted asylum, but three years later, the Board of Immigration Appeals overturned that decision. Before leaving office, Janet Reno vacated the BIA's decision and asked that Ms. Alvarado's case be re-decided after new regulations on gender-based asylum were finalized. Since then, Ms. Alvarado's case has been in limbo. The current administration has yet to finalize these proposed regulations. And in February 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft certified the case to himself so that he alone can act as judge. He has yet to issue his decision. What's more, in a shocking letter to Ms. Alvarado's attorney, Attorney General Ashcroft has refused to consider pertinent briefing materials in defense of gender-based asylum before making his decision a decision that will set a national precedent for granting asylum not just to Ms. Alvarado - but for all women fleeing from gender-based persecution such as domestic violence, honor killing, and sexual trafficking. The Attorney General's blatant disregard for basic legal principals of fairness and due-process in such a landmark case is stunning, and should not be tolerated. A bipartisan group of House members is currently circulating a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft urging him to reconsider his decision to deny review of briefing materials. For more information about this critical case and to urge your Representative to sign this letter to Attorney General Ashcroft please visit Our strength is in our numbers. Help raise our voice against this injustice by passing this message along to others. Together we can.

Irene Weiser, Stop Family Violence
New York, NY

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