February 09, 2017
In a case referred to Weil by Immigration Equality, associates Ellen Shapiro and Vlada Rebeiz, supervised by partner Adam Hemlock, secured asylum for a Russian pro bono client on the grounds that he suffered past persecution on account of his sexual orientation and had a well-founded fear of future persecution if required to return to Russia.
Our client fled Russia in 2013 after being violently attacked on numerous occasions due to his sexual orientation and after the country’s police repeatedly demonstrated an unwillingness to intervene and provide protection. The Weil team submitted the client’s application for asylum, including a declaration, numerous affidavits, and dozens of reports on Russia’s anti-LGBT policies. Ellen Shapiro accompanied and represented the client in his asylum interview, along with associate Sasha Shulzhenko, who served as a translator. Camille Parrilla served as the team’s paralegal.
While the asylum decision was pending, the Weil team assisted the client in securing work authorization. Our client, who barely spoke English upon arrival in the United States, is now almost fluent and happy to be in the United States, where he feels safe and can spend time with his boyfriend without fear of reprisal.
Immigration Equality is an LGBTQ immigrant rights organization providing advice and legal services to thousands of LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants seeking refuge, fair treatment and freedom in the United States. In over 80 countries, it is a crime or fundamentally unsafe to be LGBTQ, with consequences up to and including the death penalty.