ILLUSTRATION BY BRADLEY AMBURN
"The attorney should gather information
while keeping three of the five grounds
of eligibility for asylum in mind: religion,
political opinion, and membership in a
particular social group."
After gathering information about the client's personal circumstances, the first source that a practitioner should turn to when determining whether to
represent a bright is the annual Department of State's
(DOS) International Religious Freedom Report. This
country condition report tracks how governments
treat persons based on their beliefs. For example, last
year in West Sumatra, a man was arrested for creating a Facebook page titled "Minang Atheist." See D.
Behreandt, "Man Sentenced to Prison for Atheism,"
American Daily Herald, June 15, 2012; Syofiardi
Bachyul Jb, "'Minang atheist' sentenced to 2.5 years in
prison," The Jakarta Post, June 14, 2012.
Second, review the country's legal system. Many
laws are blatantly religious. Sharia, or Islamic law, is
the primary source of legislation in Egypt, for example. In such countries, the government forbids Muslims from converting to another religion.
M AY/ J UNE 2013