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    09.05.17 Safe Harbor Clinic Wins Asylum for Client
    A Lighthouse, figuratively suggesting the Safe Harbor Clinic

    A client of Brooklyn Law School’s Safe Harbor Clinic has been granted asylum after almost two years of advocacy on his behalf. The client was active in an opposition party in a West African country that was violently suppressed by that nation’s longtime dictator. The client was detained and beaten on account of his own activities and because he was trying to help his brother who was imprisoned after a sham proceeding. He chose to flee when it became apparent that he would be rearrested.

    This case presented a unique challenge. Just days before the clinic’s faculty and students were set to conduct their interview with the client at the asylum office, the West African country's dictator was defeated in an election.

    “Ordinarily, this would be great news, but in the ironic world of refugee law, if conditions change so that a person is no longer likely to be persecuted, asylum can be denied even if they suffered grievous harm in the past,” said Professor Stacy Caplow, Associate Dean of Professional Legal Education. “We held our collective breaths until August 31 when we learned that asylum was approved.”

    Ishan Banerjee ’16, Jill Rudge ’16, and Kat Januszkiewicz ’16 submitted the initial filling under the supervision of Professor Dan Smulian.  Jennifer Gesualdi ’17, and two LLM students,  Shafia Shoaib ’16, and Isabel Martinez Yate ’16, later submitted an extensive supplemental filing.

    “Once again, our students worked incredibly hard and effectively to help our client—and eventually his family—to start a new life,” Caplow said.