Select Client Victories

December 10, 2012—Clients J-M and C-O are a same-sex couple who lived in Kenya.  While living there, they were often subjected to violent threats because of their relationship, all within the context of the Kenyan Penal Code, which classifies sex between men as a felony, and generally punishable by up to fourteen years imprisonment.  In addition to the legal reciprocation against same-sex couples, there is a history of violence towards homosexuals, including murder by stoning, as well as widespread societal, religious, and governmental opposition to homosexuality in Kenya. It is a tribute to the preparation devoted to these cases by the student-attorneys and their clients that the asylum grants were issued less than one week after the interviewing the clients. 

November 8, 2012—Client A-A was imprisoned and mistreated in Ethiopia because of her political activity. Before her departure from Ethiopia, while A-A was in hiding, police arrived at her mother's house to arrest her.  Not finding A-A, police detained and beat her mother, before ultimately releasing her. After A-A’s asylum hearing, she hugged the student attorney, said "thank you, you saved my life," and fell to her knees in tears. 

November 5, 2012—Client M-N feared returning to Afghanistan because local religious leaders threatened her and her father for allowing her to study in the United States.  Things had become so difficult for M-N that her father had to tell leaders that she had died.  M-N’s family elders also kept insisting that she give up her education, return to Afghanistan, and enter into an arranged marriage.  All of these issues caused her constant stress and anxiety, and M-N was very relieved when she heard of the decision granting her asylum application. 

April 16, 2012—Client M-S was fearful about returning to his country because while he was in the United States, his government issued a summons accusing him of lèse-majesté, which means defaming and insulting the king of Thailand.  This summons was issued after M-S advocated online for freedom of speech.  The penalties for being found guilty of lèse-majesté include incarceration for over 15 years without due process, and being branded a public enemy.  Fortunately, M-S was granted asylum and did not have to face punishment.

April 9, 2012—After leaving a meeting of his political party, the MSD, client J-L-N and his friends were shot at with a Kalashnikov rifle by a high-ranking officer in the national police.  One of J-L-N's friends was killed.  For a year, the officer carried out a continuous and ceaseless campaign of intimidation and threats against J-L-N and his family.  J-L-N left Burundi in May of 2011, and came to the United States.  The student-attorney supplemented his application with affidavits and background materials, and she also arranged for a professional French-language interpreter to be used.  After he was granted asylum, J-L-N called his sister, who lives in Maryland. She responded, "Welcome to the United States!"   

January 25, 2012—A student-attorney represented R-M, a Christian minister from Nepal, in an affirmative asylum interview. As a result of his work, R-M received threats and extortion demands from the Nepal Defense Army (NDA), a militant Hindu extremist group.  R-M survived a kidnapping attempt by the NDA, but he was injured in the incident, and he left Nepal soon after the attempt.  R-M teared up at the news of receiving his grant. The student-attorney will now begin the process of bringing R-M's wife and son to the U.S.

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