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CLEAR’s Work with Uzbek and Yemeni Communities in the US Featured in New York Times

May 28, 2015

Recently, the Uzbek community in Brooklyn reached out to the CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility) project for counsel on how to respond to law enforcement questioning.

After arrests of three recent immigrants from Uzbekistan for accusations of trying to join the Islamic State and commit acts of terrorism, seven Uzbeks who attended mosques were questioned by law enforcement officials about their opinion on the arrests, as well as about current events. CLEAR faculty and students subsequently conducted two “Know Your Rights” workshops at Brooklyn mosques with Uzbek members.

Read “Accusations of Terrorism Worry Brooklyn’s Uzbek Community” in the New York Times

CLEAR also recently represented a Yemeni-American man, whose American passport was deemed fraudulent and taken away by the US government. He was stuck in Yemen for 13 months until he was granted a temporary passport valid only to return to the US.

Professor Ramzi Kassem, Naz Ahmad and Nabila Taj (’15) represented this man at an administrative hearing in April at the State Department in Washington. Nabila argued that the coerced statement the client made saying that his US citizen father was not his father and the DNA evidence proving to a certainty of 99.98% that they were father and son could not both be true. She went further and said that the DNA evidence proved that the statement could only have been coerced. Thanks to CLEAR’s work, the client is now hopeful that his situation will be resolved.

Professor Ramzi Kassem explained, “There’s a degree of stigma that comes with these kinds of, there’s really no other way to call it, extrajudicial punishment. Now that he’s back in the United States without a valid U.S. passport, he is being deprived of the fundamental liberty to travel internationally. So he is effectively a prisoner in his own country now.”

CLEAR will continue its work on the case. At least 20 other Yemeni-Americans have also had their passports revoked.

Read “Yemeni-Americans, Thrust Into Limbo, Say U.S. Embassy Unfairly Revokes Passports” in the New York Times

 Naz Ahmad, Professor Ramzi Kassem, Nabila Tab ('15)

CLEAR is a cross-clinical project between the Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, directed by Professor Ramzi Kassem, and the Criminal Defense Clinic, directed by Professor Steve Zeidman. CLEAR is predominantly staffed by law students from both clinics in their final year of study, working under the supervision of law faculty and attorneys. The project aims to address the unmet legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in the New York City area that are particularly affected by national security and counterterrorism policies and practices.


Related Categories: CLEAR, Faculty, INRC, Spotlight, Student News

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