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A Nigerian man's asylum bid has been revived after a ruling by a U.S. appeals court Wednesday. The man said he was applying for asylum because of his sexual orientation and his fears of persecution back in Nigeria.
An immigration board previously said he had failed to back up his claims over his sexuality, according to Reuters.
Wednesday's decision was unanimously made by a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In its decision, the court said Peter Udo's inconsistent testimony over where the hotel was where he said he and his boyfriend had been detained and attacked wasn't a cause to end his asylum request.
As Reuters notes, those whose asylum applications are "deemed frivolous" are usually forever banned from seeking immigration support from the U.S.
In Udo's case, the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed a judge's decision that his bid for asylum was frivolous because the judge said Udo lied on his application and failed to show he is gay.
Udo said he and his boyfriend were found having sex in a hotel room in 2015. A local security force beat them up and told Udo he would be killed.
Nigeria criminalized same-sex marriage and relationships in 2014.
Udo escaped from a detention center and, with help from his family, made his way out of Nigeria and to California, where he applied for asylum.
He originally told an asylum officer a name of a hotel that didn't exist. He later said he had been scared to name the actual hotel, according to court documents.
The court of appeals decided, however, that the location of the hotel "is certainly not a material element."
It also said the board and the previous judge had ignored other evidence, such as an "excommunication notice" from local leaders in Udo's community that even stated he was being persecuted for being gay. There were also written statements from Udo's family about the attacks against him. The appeals court said the board "erred by failing to give 'reasoned consideration' to it."
Wednesday's decision sent the case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals to reconsider Udo's asylum claims.