Cases & Deals

Eritrean national wins asylum

Clients Client T

Client T, a twenty-two year old Eritrean national, came to the United States on December 31, 2008 seeking asylum. The Eritrean government arbitrarily labeled Client T a traitor because he conscientiously objected to indefinite military conscription and because he was perceived as sympathetic to Ethiopia. (Eritrea and Ethiopia are currently entangled in a border dispute that has lasted over a decade.) As a result, Eritrean soldiers imprisoned him in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, subjected him to daily beatings, and tortured him. Client T left Eritrea to escape indefinite military conscription and the torture and imprisonment he suffered. The case was referred to Jones Day by Casa Cornelia, a public service law firm that provides pro bono legal services to indigent immigrants in Southern California . Rebekah Bennett represented him in achieving asylum and withholding of removal during a deportation trial in immigration court on September 9, 2009 and October 27, 2009. The representation included preparing and examining Client T during the hearing, securing expert witnesses to evaluate his psychological and physical condition, and researching and drafting country condition reports to educate the Court about the Eritrean government's poor human rights record. Had Client T been forced to return to Eritrea, he almost certainly would have been imprisoned or perhaps even killed. Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers who were repatriated from other countries in the last two years have reportedly disappeared into secret detention facilities run by the government. The victory means that our client, who now lives in San Diego, will be able to live and work legally in the U.S., become a permanent resident after a year, and apply for citizenship five years later.