Sierra Leonean Client Wins Asylum

November 9, 2007

Cleary Gottlieb won asylum for pro bono client D.B. D.B. was born in Sierra Leone. According to D.B.’s application for asylum, after her parents were slaughtered by rebels when she was just 7 years old, she was sold as a domestic servant to a family in Guinea. The family subjected her to long-term physical abuse, forced labor and female genital mutilation. In 2006, at the age of 19, D.B. fled Guinea and arrived in the U.S. On November 9, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in Lyndhurst, NJ delivered the final decision granting asylum to D.B.

According to D.B.’s application for asylum, she suffered past persecution and had a well-founded fear of future persecution at the hands of the family who purchased her as a domestic laborer, as well as the continuing persecution of the effects of FGM. The Guinean police had refused to investigate D.B.’s reports of threats and physical assaults, demonstrating their unwillingness and inability to protect D.B.

D.B. was referred to Cleary Gottlieb by the Door. Following factual investigation of D.B.’s claim, Cleary Gottlieb submitted D.B.’s I-589 form, a legal memorandum and supporting documentation to BCIS, and represented D.B. in her interview with the asylum officer. Even though D.B.’s asylum application was filed more than a year after her arrival in the U.S., BCIS accepted Cleary Gottlieb’s arguments and granted asylum.