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February 2018: Victory for Pro Bono Client in Asylum Case

February 2018

The firm obtained a significant victory for a pro bono client in his case for asylum in the United States. Our client is a political activist and former Al-Jazeera journalist who was imprisoned and tortured by successive governments in Egypt. He played an instrumental part in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and helped mobilize thousands of people across Egypt to bring democratic change in his home country. As an avid supporter of freedom of speech, he reported on the Revolution for Al-Jazeera and subsequently founded non-governmental organizations to promote democracy, election integrity, and human rights. He also held leadership positions in opposition parties that campaigned on a platform seeking democratic change (and whose members have since disappeared). Because of all of this, the government and security services in Egypt repeatedly tried to silence our client but he continued speaking out against the government. Matters took a darker turn in 2014 when our client was named in a widely disseminated “WANTED” list issued by the Egyptian Security Services. Many people on that list have since disappeared. With no option but to flee, in late 2014 our client managed to fly to the United States to seek asylum.

Quinn Emanuel was retained to represent the client in early 2015 and prepared his application, memorandum of law, and accompanying materials evidencing his persecution. Our submissions, which sought relief under both domestic legislation and the UN Convention Against Torture, focused on our client’s past persecution as well as his well-founded fear of future persecution. On November 30, 2017, the client, represented by Quinn Emanuel lawyer Lucas Bento, appeared for his interview at the Asylum Office in Bethpage, New York. Two weeks later, the client was granted indefinite asylum in the United States. The significance of our victory is best summarized by what the client told us upon hearing the news: “I’d be a dead man if I went back. You have given me my life back!”