Immigration and Human Rights Clinic Helps Ethiopian Professor Secure Asylum

A university professor who fled imprisonment and torture in his native Ethiopia was recently granted asylum in the United States. The Law School's Immigration and Human Rights Law Clinic represented and guided him through the asylum process.

The client had been threatened on multiple occasions for his research critiquing the Ethiopian government's land use and development policies and for his criticism of various practices at the state-run university. This campaign of intimidation and harassment, by both government officials and university administrators, culminated in his detention by the Ethiopian government.

After being released, he fled to the United States. In February 2012, with the assistance of Clinic student attorneys Edmond Ahadome ('13), Gordon Knoblach ('13), Kevin Lampone ('12), Sam Manning ('13), and Jenna Nand ('12), he applied for asylum. Emily Good ('03), a staff attorney for research, education, and advocacy at the nonprofit Advocates for Human Rights, provided invaluable assistance.

The case "demonstrated the importance of asylum law as a means to protect those who exercise the right to speak out against their government," says Clinic Director and Supervising Attorney Stephen Meili, "and it offered several law students the opportunity to save the life of someone who was tortured for exercising that right."