Tibetan Pro Bono Client Wins Political Asylum

April 15, 2009

Cleary Gottlieb won political asylum for a Tibetan pro bono client, a 38-year-old mother of two who was born and raised in India, where radical followers of the Dorjee Shugden attacked her twice and attempted to rape her. The Dorjee Shugden is a controversial Tibetan deity, the followers of which comprise an offshoot of Tibetan Buddhism that has been linked to the 1997 ritualistic murders of three close associates of the Dalai Lama. The U.S. Department of Justice Immigration Court granted asylum at a hearing on April 15.

The asylum applicant was targeted by followers of the Dorjee Shugden due to her work for the Tibetan Government in Exile, her service on the Central Executive Committee of the Tibetan Youth Congress, and her outspoken support of the Dalai Lama’s spiritual and political leadership. She asserted that the Indian police were unable or unwilling to protect her from her attackers, and that she would face further violence if she were forced to return to India.