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Covington Secures Asylum for Iranian Baha’i Refugee


WASHINGTON, DC, April 9, 2012 — Covington & Burling LLP recently obtained asylum for Angie Ahmadi, a member of the Baha’i faith and a pro-democracy activist from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted asylum after Ms. Ahmadi and Covington lawyer Arjun Singh Sethi presented her case to an asylum officer in Arlington, Va. Covington represented Ms. Ahmadi on a pro bono basis.

Ms. Ahmadi converted from Islam to the Baha’i faith in 2004. The government of Iran prohibits the Baha’i from teaching and practicing their faith. Conversion in some circumstances is punishable by death. Ms. Ahmadi was also active in the country’s pro-democracy movement, organizing sit-ins and assisting Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi with human rights campaigns.

In the spring of 2010, Ms. Ahmadi was awarded a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in the United Kingdom. She was told the scholarship was illegal and that she was not to leave the country. She fled Iran shortly thereafter.

After completing her studies in England, Ms. Ahmadi travelled to the U.S. for an internship at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. In December 2011, Covington agreed to handle Ms. Ahmadi’s application for asylum.

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