Wiggin and Dana Attorneys Secure Asylum for Tibetan Refugee
Wiggin and Dana is pleased to announce that it has successfully secured political asylum for a Tibetan nationalist fleeing persecution from Chinese authorities. Under the supervision of partner Scott Greathead, Joellen Valentine and Clem Naples began representing a Tibetan refugee earlier this year at the request of Human Rights First, an advocacy group whose mission includes the protection of refugees in search of safe havens. The lawyers received valuable advice and assistance from well-known Tibetan scholar and human rights advocate Dr. Robert Thurman of Columbia University, who supported the application for asylum as a country expert.
On November 9, 2004, after a 3-hour hearing, Immigration Judge Philip Morace ruled that our client should not be deported and granted his application for asylum in the United States. The Government, which opposed the application, waived its right to appeal the decision.
Our client was arrested and detained in 2001 by Chinese authorities, who found a photograph of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan nationalist publications in his home. During a temporary release from custody, our client fled to Nepal, where he arranged for false travel papers, and then onto India, where he obtained a passport and a visa to the United States. He entered the U.S. last year in the guise of a Buddhist monk, and contacted Human Rights First, which asked Wiggin and Dana to take on the case.
Our client, thrilled with his newly-secured status, continues to demonstrate peacefully for a free and independent Tibet.