Liberian Woman in Political Asylum Win
December 1, 2005
Cleary Gottlieb won political asylum for pro bono client K.T., who fled Liberia in January 2002 after allegedly suffering persecution at the hands of the Charles Taylor regime because of her familial relationship to prominent anti-government politicians. U.S. Immigration Judge John Gossart granted K.T. asylum on December 1 in Baltimore.
Cleary began representing K.T. after an Asylum Officer rejected her application for asylum and referred her to Immigration Court. The Cleary team filed a substantial document submission on K.T.’s behalf, which included a legal brief, affidavits by K.T., her family members, a country conditions expert and a psychologist and numerous reports and articles specifically documenting the political importance of K.T.’s relatives and Taylor’s continuing influence in Liberia despite recent elections. In a pretrial conference, the Court indicated it would find asylum for K.T. based on the document submission alone (absent an adverse credibility finding) and encouraged the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to concede asylum. When the ICE did not concede, the court held an abbreviated trial and granted asylum.