To obtain asylum, an alien may be required to establish an objective likelihood of persecution. Mehmet Kareman Bala, a citizen of Albania, alleged that he suffered persecution after the fall of communism. Bala requested asylum, withholding of removal and relief under CAT, the Convention Against Torture. Hartford Immigration Judge Michael Straus denied his application, and the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed. The immigration judge reasonably concluded that Bala failed to establish an objectively reasonable fear of persecution, based on Bala's activities as a member of the Albanian Democratic Party. The Department of State's 2008 country report indicated the Democratic Party regained control of parliament and that political parties operate without reprisals. Bala's expert witness conceded that he was not aware of any individuals deported to Albania who were subjected to retaliation. The immigration judge reasonably concluded that Bala failed to establish an objectively reasonable fear, based on Bala's activities as a member of the Albanian Democratic Party. Bala was unable to prove an objective likelihood of persecution, for purposes of his asylum claim. It was not an abuse of discretion to find that Bala did not demonstrate "compelling reasons for being unwilling or unable to return to the country arising out of the severity of the past persecution," pursuant to 8 Code of Federal Regulations §1208.13(b)(1)(iii)(A). Bala also failed to prove he should receive asylum based on psychological symptoms that arose from persecution. The 2nd Circuit denied the petition for review. Attorney Justin Conlon represented the petitioner. Attorneys Tony West, Terri Scadron and Greg Mack represent the government.

VIEW FULL CASE