A Squire Patton Boggs client was granted asylum a decade after fleeing his home following a savage attack because he was gay.
For the last few years attorneys at the firm represented on a pro bono basis a gay, HIV+ man from the small dual island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis who was seeking asylum in the United States based on fear of past and future persecution were he to return to his home country.
Having lived a closeted life in St. Kitts, he was savagely beaten by five men from his community after they found out that he was gay. When he tried to report the attack to the police, he was told by the police officer that he deserved what happened to him and it should happen to all gay men on the island. The client then fled to the United States, where he has been living for nearly a decade awaiting a hearing on his asylum petition.
Squire Patton Boggs attorneys Andrew King (COL), Eleanor Hagan (CLE), Erica Van Heyde (COL), and Dan Lonergan (CLE), with help from several summer associates, worked to put together affidavits from the client’s friends and coworkers, gathered country condition materials which explained the dire situation for gay and HIV+ men in St. Kitts, and located country condition experts to help explain to the judge what life is like for a gay man in St. Kitts.
The final asylum hearing was held on November 29, 2021. After listening to all the evidence, including the testimony of the client, the client’s partner, and two experts, the government decided to waive its closing argument and its right to appeal a decision in the case. The judge granted the client’s request for asylum from the bench.