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Monday, 24 January 2011

In US, gay Romani Romanian seeks asylum

Flag of the Romani people, made using these di...Image via Wikipedia   
Source: CAIR Coalition

LK is a 23 year old Romanian citizen.  He entered the United States with his family either as a refugee on December 1, 2008 and adjusted to Legal Permanent Residence on July 13, 2009.  He fears returning to Romania because he fears persecution as a Gypsy and a homosexual.

LK claims that his family has been persecuted as Gypsies and that he was physically assaulted numerous times for being one.  He was forced out of school because people threw rocks at him when he tried to attend class.  He claims his grandfather was murdered for money and because he was a Gypsy.  He describes multiple incidents of persecution against his family because of their ethnicity.   He claims his mother also had difficulty finding work because she was a Gypsy.  LK claims that in 2007 there was an attempted kidnapping and attempted rape against his sister.  He also has stated that his sister’s son was kidnapped and sold.  LK’s sister has since disappeared and he fears she is dead.

LK is openly gay and enjoys wearing women’s clothing.  As a child his mother kept him inside often so that he would not be accosted for being gay. When he was approximately twelve years old, he says that he was pushed from a 3rd or 4th floor apartment window for being a homosexual.  He suffered a severe head injury which has caused permanent short term memory loss, as well as chronic headaches.  The police never pursued the matter.  LK claims to have been physically assaulted numerous times for being a homosexual.

LK has never sought psychological treatment for his experiences.  Based on his own declarations and observations by CAIR Coalition staff, it appears that LK does suffer from some sort of mental disability.  We would strongly encourage pro bono counsel to seek a psychiatric evaluation of LK – both to confirm past trauma and to better understand LK’s current mental state.  Also, LK has difficulty speaking English and a translator is needed to communicate with him.

LK was convicted on two separate occasions of obtaining money by false pretenses of an amount greater than $200. He is being charging by the DHS for two crimes involving moral turpitude not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct and a crime of moral turpitude within five years after admissions for which a sentence of one year or longer may be imposed.

This case will involve helping LK to possibly reapply for Asylum or in the alternative, Withholding of Removal and protection under the Convention against Torture. LK is detained at Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Virginia.  His next Master Calendar hearing is on February 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm.

CAIR Coalition now has a Video-Teleconferencing System which allows attorneys to communicate with detained clients via televideo from our office in DC.  CAIR Coalition is also available to assist in visiting the client at the jail.  The pro bono attorney will be mentored throughout the case by CAIR Coalition’s legal director, Liz McGrail.
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