After 22 years, Ugandan man granted asylum
In 1992, the Client fled Uganda on account of his membership in the Uganda Peoples' Congress ("UPC"), a political opposition party. At that time, President Yoweri Museveni and his political party, the National Resistance Movement ("NRM"), and its military faction, the National Resistance Army ("NRA," collectively "Museveni Regime"), were still consolidating power after its overthrow of the UPC-led Ugandan government in 1986. The Museveni Regime was actively pursuing, harassing, intimidating, torturing, and killing known members of opposition parties, such as members of the UPC.
In 1987, the Client's brother was arrested at a Ugandan military checkpoint, detained, and cruelly tortured for about one month. The Client's brother was only able to escape because a cousin bribed solders for his release; this cousin was later killed by the Museveni Regime in retaliation for the Client's brother's failure to report to the military barracks every two weeks. Later, also in 1987, the Museveni Regime killed the Client's father after he was detained at a military checkpoint with other UPC supporters. Another brother was also killed by the Museveni Regime in 1989.
In March of 1992, Museveni Regime soldiers came to the Client's high school because the Client's covert political activism in the UPC had been detected. The Client escaped the soldiers and lived in hiding at various safe houses until the Client obtained a travel visa and came to the United States in July of 1992.
The Client applied for asylum in September of 1992, but his application was denied by an immigration judge in June of 1997. The Client thereafter filed an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which was denied in May of 2002. The Client filed his first Motion to Reopen in August of 2002, but this motion was denied in May of 2003. The Client filed his second Motion to Reopen in November of 2010, which was granted in April of 2012.
Through Human Rights First, Jones Day became counsel of record in May of 2013. Jones Day attorneys tirelessly prepared the Client for his individual merits hearing, which was held February 20, 2014. As part of this preparation, Jones Day attorneys interviewed the Client's brother, who had been tortured, and a family friend who corroborated the brother's torture. Lengthy affidavits were drafted for the Client, the Client's brother, and the family friend. In addition, Jones Day attorneys exhaustively researched political oppression in Uganda and drafted a country conditions memorandum with more than 75 supporting exhibits. Jones Day attorneys also compiled other supporting documentation to demonstrate the Client's political activism, his siblings successfully seeking asylum in the United Kingdom, and the Client's various contributions to the community.
Since applying for asylum in 1992, the Client had continued his activism in the UPC. The Client had a genuine fear of returning to Uganda because of his political opinion and his family members constituting a well-defined social group of activists. In addition, the Museveni Regime killed another of the Client's brothers in 2012 and a surviving brother was forced to recant his membership in the UPC and flee from the family home.
At the individual merits hearing on February 20, 2014, the Client testified about his and his family's mistreatment by the Museveni Regime. The Client also testified about his fear of returning to Uganda because of his political activism. At a continuation of the hearing on March 20, 2014, the immigration judge granted the Client's asylum request and the government waived its right to appeal. Finally, after more than 22 years and the death of no less than four family members, the Client no longer had fear returning to Uganda.