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The Advocates for Human Rights Submits Amicus Brief to US Supreme Court
6/24/2008 9:30 AM

The Advocates for Human Rights filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Negusie v. Mukasey. The case presents the question of whether the law barring persecutors from obtaining asylum in the United States applies to a person who engaged in those acts only under credible threat of death or serious bodily harm. The Advocates for Human Rights filed the friend-of-the-court brief to urge the Court to construe legal protections for refugees in a way that is consistent with international human rights standards and that does not leave actual victims of persecution outside its reach.

Daniel Girmai Negusie, petitioner in the case, was forced to serve as a guard in the prison camp in which he himself had been imprisoned and tortured for his refusal to serve in the Eritrean military. He later sought asylum in the U.S. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the denial of asylum, holding that because the “objective effect” of Mr. Negusie’s conduct – even though involuntary – assisted persecution of others in the camp, he was barred from protection. The unpublished opinion of the Fifth Circuit is reprinted in 231 Fed. App'x 325.

"Refusing to consider evidence of individual culpability," the amicus brief argues, "permits unjust, inequitable results in hard cases and exhibits a disturbing indifference toward the victims of persecution our asylum laws were meant to protect."

The brief was authored by pro bono counsel Benjamin Casper, a private immigration attorney in West St. Paul, Minnesota, and by Heather McElroy of the Minneapolis law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP.

Get Acrobat Reader  Negusie_opening_brief_FINAL.pdf  
Petitioner's Brief
Get Acrobat Reader  07-499tsacTheAdvocatesforHumanRights.pdf  
Amicus Brief of The Advocates for Human Rights
Get Acrobat Reader  07-499tascAmericanJewishCongress.pdf  
Amicus Brief of American Jewish Congress and American Jewish Commitee
Get Acrobat Reader  07-499tsacScholarsofInternationalRefugeeLaw.pdf  
Amicus Brief of International Refugee Law Scholars
Get Acrobat Reader  Negusie--UNHCR_Amicus_Brief_Final.pdf  
Amicus Brief of the UNHCR