In 2004, Samuel, a citizen of Eritrea was tortured for attempting to protect his sister from sexual abuse. Samuel and his sister, Fatima, were both conscripted into the Eritrean army when they turned 18.  When he learned that Fatima was being sexually abused by members of the Eritrean military, Samuel reported the abuse to his commanding officer.  For doing so, he was tortured.  Fatima was fortunately able to escape her military abusers, but Samuel was not.  Following Fatima’s escape, Samuel was tortured and punished for months.

Sadly, Samuel’s troubles only got worse.  After some anti-government graffiti was falsely alleged to be his work, Samuel was transferred from prison-to-prison; enduring abuse, hard labor, and torture.  In 2006, Samuel was able to escape the Eritrean prison, and, over the course of eight days, he walked on foot to Sudan.  While in Sudan, Samuel lived with his uncle, but he was always fearful that the Eritrean authorities would discover him and return him to Eritrea.  Fearing return to Eritrea, Samuel almost never left his uncle’s home; only leaving to go to work.

Realizing that Sudan was not safe for him, Samuel, with the help of his family members, was able to gather enough money to hire a smuggler to get him out of Sudan: eventually, arriving in the United States in February of 2010.

Samuel contacted the Human Rights Initiative for legal assistance.  HRI accepted his case and later collaborated with attorneys at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld to assist with his asylum claim.  A Dallas Immigration Judge eventually granted Samuel Withholding of Removal, which means he can live safely in the United States.


George was born in Eritrea.  While in Secondary School, George excelled in biology, which allowed him to a Nursing & Health College in Eritrea.  During his training, and continuing throughout his career, George developed relationships and contacts with westerners who came to Eritrea to provide humanitarian assistance.

In 2008, several famous Eritrean athletes “disappeared” and the Eritrean government suspected, incorrectly, that they had escaped with the help of George.  George was taken by the Eritrean military and beaten continuously for days.  The military demanded that George tell them how the athletes escaped.  Having no knowledge of the escape, and being unable to answer their questions to their satisfaction, George was transferred from prison-to-prison, being severely tortured at each one by the Eritrean military.

While being transferred from one prison to another, about a year after being taken by the Eritrean military, George jumped out of the Eritrean Military truck, avoided gun fire, and ran for his life.  He escaped to a friend’s house, and then fled to Sudan.  While in Sudan, George learned that the Eritrean government had retaliated against his mother for not revealing his location.  Knowing that Eritrea was not safe for him, George fled to the United States seeking asylum.

Fearful of torture, if forced to return to Eritrea, George contacted the Human Rights Initiative for legal assistance.  HRI accepted his case and later collaborated with attorneys at Jones Day to assist with his asylum claim.  After presenting their case, a Dallas Immigration Judge granted George asylum.


Joe was born in Egypt.  Growing up in Egypt, Joe excelled in school and finished at the top of his university’s class.  But, despite his excellent academic credentials, Joe’s future in Egypt was not promising; for he is Christian.

Beginning in 2003, Joe experienced emotional and physical abuse because of his Christian faith.  While exiting his church he was accosted and physically abused by a mob of angry men.  He went to the police, but they did nothing.  Two weeks later, again, while leaving his church, he was attacked by a group of angry men because he was a Christian.  This time, the police told him it was no longer safe for him in his hometown, so he fled to Cairo.

Sadly, Joe’s life in Egypt would no improve.  In 2010, while exiting a store, he was ridiculed and severely beaten by a group of men for being Christian.  They locked him in a storage close and left him there.  When the police finally arrived, they arrested Joe for insulting Islam—a crime that he did not commit.

He spent two weeks in jail before he appeared before a Judge who declared that Joe had not insulted Islam.  However, the police disregarded the Judge’s ruling and kept him in jail regardless.  While in jail, Joe was constantly beaten by his fellow prisoners.  His abuse was not only by the prisoners, the prison guards deprived him of drinking water, basic hygienic necessities, and any medical care.  Further, the prison authorities would not allow him to practice his faith, and, upon discovering that he had obtained a bible, the police tore up Joe’s bible.

After being released from jail, things only got worse for Joe.  In 2011, after a message was broadcast by the government condemning Christianity, a mob erupted while Joe was in a local bazaar.  The crowd approached him, attacked him, beat him, stabbed him, and left him for dead.  Joe’s family found him lying on the ground, beaten, stabbed, and bleeding profusely.  They rushed him to a private clinic operated by a Christian.  Fearing retribution from the community, the doctor only provided him with the most basic of care.  All told, Joe left the clinic with scars over his face, back, and head.

Realizing that Egypt was no longer safe for him, Joe decided he must leave Egypt.  So, in May of 2011, Joe left his native country and arrived in America.  Knowing that, as a Christian, Egypt would not be safe for him, he contacted the Human Rights Initiative for legal assistance. HRI accepted his case and worked with attorneys from Perkins Coie and a solo practitioner to assist with his asylum claim.  At the hearing, a Dallas Immigration Judge granted client’s case.


In 2004, Carine, a registered and reproductive health nurse from Cameroon, along with fellow students, protested the government’s sudden dramatic increase in education fees. The police opposed their demonstration and arrested and detained Carine, along with three others. During her detainment she was beaten and tortured. After her release the next day, she signed a piece of paper agreeing to never protest again.

Unfortunately, Carine’s troubles did not end there. In 2010 while working in a health clinic, she was approached by two unknown men who requested that she inject a small vial of an unknown liquid into an elected official whom the men said was an “opponent” they wanted to “do away with him.” The client refused and four days later was arrested by police. She was detained for three days where she was beaten and raped.

The following year she was working at a different health clinic and was held-up at gunpoint to once again inject a man with an unknown liquid because he would not help rig the elections. The client agreed to help, but was able to sneak out of the office and seek hiding in various family members’ homes.

Since her arrival in the U.S. in July 2011, police in Cameroon have continued to search for our client. They have raided her house and taken her laptop and tape recorder.

In order to avoid further harm and mistreatment, she contacted the Human Rights Initiative for legal assistance. HRI accepted her case and later collaborated with attorneys at Vinson & Elkins to assist with her asylum case. A Dallas Immigration Judge eventually granted Carine Withholding of Removal, which means she can live safely in the United States.

She is now receiving food stamp support and other benefits granted by the Withholding of Removal under the United States’ Immigration and Nationality Act.

Below is a video from one of our asylum clients describing his story and how HRI helped him win asylum.