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Asylum Victory for Nepalese Refugee

Willie CochranSantosh AravindScott Douglass & McConnico lawyers Willie Cochran and Santosh Aravind secured a grant of asylum for “Raja,” a 28-year-old Nepalese man who was persecuted by the Maoists in Nepal.  Raja, a human rights activist, was attacked by the Maoists on three separate occasions before he fled Nepal for the United States.

Raja was born into the so-called “untouchable” Dalit caste.  Raja’s wife was born into the upper Chhetri caste. Raja and his wife were shamed and tortured by upper-caste Hindus and banished from their home village on account of their inter-caste marriage. Raja’s wife remains in hiding in Nepal.

Cochran and Aravind spent several months working with Raja, Nepali translators, and country conditions experts to prepare Raja’s case for a contested final merits hearing before a federal immigration judge.

Last week, during the merits hearing, the immigration judge ruled that Raja was credible and entitled to asylum relief. Raja is now on the path to permanent residency and naturalized citizenship. Raja’s wife is on the path to achieve the same status through the derivative asylum program.

Scott Douglass & McConnico represented Raja pro bono and partnered with American Gateways, a local nonprofit organization that provides legal services to low-income refugees and immigrants.

Raja’s name has been changed for the safety and privacy of his family.

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Scott Douglass & McConnico Welcomes Santosh Aravind to the Firm

We are pleased to welcome Santosh Aravind to Scott Douglass & McConnico. Santosh is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer whose areas of practice include complex civil litigation and white collar criminal defense.  After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, Santosh served as a law clerk for the Honorable Julian Abele Cook, Jr., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2003 to 2005. From 2005 to 2009, Santosh was an associate in the litigation department in the New York office of Latham & Watkins, LLP.  At Latham, Santosh represented individuals and defendants in securities and complex commercial litigation and government investigations, including a former CEO against allegations of stock option backdating, an investment bank against allegations involving mortgage-backed securities, and an investment bank in securities litigation related to derivative warrants.  Prior to joining the firm in January 2015, Santosh served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for over five years.  While a federal prosecutor, Santosh investigated and prosecuted a variety of offenses including murder, racketeering, weapons and international narcotics trafficking, international money laundering, public corruption, organized crime, and securities, bank, and tax fraud.  Santosh has extensive trial experience, having tried eight jury trials and one bench trial. As an appellate advocate, Santosh has briefed and argued several appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.