Couple Nets Asylum with Haynes and Boone Pro Bono Effort

07/13/2009

HOUSTON – A Nepalese couple who suffered kidnapping and threats for their politics has been granted asylum in the United States after an unusually protracted fight led by Haynes and Boone, LLP pro bono attorneys working in collaboration with the Human Rights Initiative ("HRI") of North Texas.

The couple’s trouble began in Nepal after the husband successfully ran for local office in the newly created multi-party democratic system, and Maoists attempted to persuade him to join their anti-governmental cause. When he refused, the Maoists escalated threats and later kidnapped him.

When the couple finally escaped and came to the United States in March 2006, HRI began its representation and counseled them at their initial government Houston Asylum Office interview. Although such cases are usually decided within a month and despite the U.S. State Department’s recognition of the widespread abuse and violence in the region, this case was put on hold for more than two years.

A series of Haynes and Boone volunteer lawyers -- including Houston associates Josh Chaffin and Erin LeBaron -- joined HRI in representing the couple in the interim. Finally, after persistent inquiries to the Houston Asylum Office, additional interviews were scheduled in 2009, leading to the decision.

“After years of uncertainty, preparation, research, interviews and meetings, it is incredibly gratifying to finally obtain asylum for these two wonderful people,” said Mr. Chaffin. “It’s been a long hard road, but they’re home now.”

Christine Cooney Mansour, legal director for Dallas-based HRI, thanked the firm for its dedication to this case and others. “Haynes and Boone has been a long-time HRI supporter,” Ms. Mansour said. “The firm is the only one in Houston that we turn to when one of our Dallas attorneys cannot be there. That is a big deal to us. We really appreciate it.”

About HRI:
Human Rights Initiative provides free legal services to victims of human rights abuses. These are individuals who have suffered persecution in their homeland for exercising the very freedoms that we take for granted: freedom of speech, of religious practice, of political belief, of gender roles. Asylum cases represent the bulk of HRI’s legal caseload, but it also handles matters under the Violence Against Women Act and the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. Legal services are delivered primarily through the agency’s extensive network of volunteer attorneys.

About Haynes and Boone:
Haynes and Boone, LLP is an international corporate law firm with offices in Texas, New York, California, Washington, D.C., Mexico City and Moscow, providing a full spectrum of legal services. With almost 550 attorneys, Haynes and Boone is ranked among the largest law firms in the nation by The National Law Journal. The firm has been recognized as one of the "Best Corporate Law Firms in America" (Corporate Board Member Magazine, 2001-2009), as one of "The Best 20 Law Firms to Work For" (Vault.com, 2008), and as a Top 100 law firm for both diversity (MultiCultural Law Magazine, 2009) and women (Women 3.0, 2008).

Media Contacts

Nathan Koppel
Director of Media Relations
+1 512.867.8431
nathan.koppel@haynesboone.com
Linda Campbell
Communications Manager
+1 214.651.5362
linda.campbell@haynesboone.com

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