C. Mario Russell writes: "Please join me in congratulating Elizabeth Fitzgerald, St. John's Law School Refugee and Immigrant Rights Clinic (2011-2012), whose petition for review in the asylum case of Amadou Diallo was granted last week by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. (Decision attached). St. John's Law School and Catholic Charities, who supervises the law school's immigration litigation clinic, retained the matter for representation before the Court of Appeals after it had been denied by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Mr. Diallo, from Guinea, is the son of a political activist whom the secret service in Guinea was trying to locate and arrest. When Mr. Diallo was 17 years old government forces came to the family house and arrested and detained Mr. Diallo for 10 days, using him as bait in the hope that the father would turn himself in. Mr. Diallo was eventually released and told he would be detained again if he did not help locate the father. Mr. Diallo then fled from the country. The Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals denied the case, in part, on the ground that the detention and persecution of Mr. Diallo was not based on his political beliefs or social group. 2011-2012 Refugee and Immigrant Rights Clinic student Elizabeth Fitzgerald submitted two legal briefs on the case and successfully argued that Mr. Diallo belonged to the social group of his "nuclear family", that the conduct of the government was traditional cherchez-la-famille persecution, and that the government had imputed a political opinion to him." - C. Mario Russell, Senior Attorney, Adjunct Professor, Catholic Charities, St. John's Law School New York, NY
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