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Pro Bono: Iranian Political Asylum

On January 31, 2012, Barack Ferrazzano attorneys succeeded in petitioning the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration Court to grant political asylum to an Iranian national. The asylum seeker fled his native country of Iran after being targeted by the government for participating in the historic protests that followed the election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. This appears to be one of the first U.S. asylum cases connected with the widely reported 2009 election protests in Iran.

Barack Ferrazzano took on the case in August 2010. The team, led by associate Brandon Prosansky, donated hundreds of hours of their time to ensure our client was not returned to Iran, where he faced possible arrest, torture or even death. Given the lack of U.S. case law involving the 2009 election protests, the litigation team’s case was built on evidence and expert testimony regarding the Iranian government’s deplorable treatment of 2009 election protesters, as well as our client's credible testimony about his participation in protests, the government’s surveillance of him, and his escape from Iran.

After the court announced its ruling, the U.S. government stated that it would not appeal, and the judge expressly thanked the firm for taking the case. Our client wants to contribute positively to this country, and hopes to apply for U.S. citizenship when he becomes eligible.

The firm is extremely proud of the team that worked on the case, including attorneys Prosansky, Vito Solitro, Ed Malone, Shermin Kruse, and Larah Tannenbaum, as well as the support team of Ranni Matar, Lisa Shupryt, James Tucker, and Mary Mobley.

The firm is also very appreciative of the volunteer services of expert witness Dr. Elise Auerbach and translator Zahra Malek.