A refugee claimant fleeing domestic violence in Africa is asking a federal court judge in Whitehorse for another hearing.

The 32-year-old woman came to Canada from Botswana last year claiming years of physical abuse and death threats from her ex-husband, but her refugee status was denied by Canadian immigration officials who say Botswana is a democratic state that protects its women.

In a rare federal court hearing in Whitehorse this week, lawyer Karen Wenckebach asked a judge to grant the woman a new hearing.

"This person, her ex-partner, was persecuting her over a number of years and it started shortly after they broke up, so it does not fit the classic mold of what we see as domestic violence but I think it's gender-based violence."  

Wenckebach said the woman's abusive ex-partner was once fined for an assault, but authorities in Botswana said they could do nothing about his continued threats.  

She said the woman still fears for her life and has asked not to be identified publicly.

Federal Court Justice Andre Scott said he will rule soon on the case.