Tailor Imprisoned for Helping Opposition Party in Ethiopia
One fateful day in October 2005, uniformed men entered his shop and arrested him for making ribbons for the CUD. He was held 70 days without charge in prison, where he was tortured and confined to a small, crowded cell. He never set foot inside a courtroom. He was released in 2006.
Even then, Mr. B was not safe. His home was raided and searched by security officials; his property damaged and stolen. He was arrested again in 2009 for making ribbons. Government forces took him to prison; he was starved, electrocuted, and forced on the ground while guards stomped on his neck.
He made a daring escape by hopping a fence and running into the bush, with guards shooting at him. While hiding at his grandparents’ home, he received a message from his wife that security forces had surrounded their house, searching for him.
Afraid for his life, Mr. B fled to Kenya, and worked his way to Ecuador. There, he and other migrants traveled northward in 2010, through Colombia, Central America, and Mexico, and arrived at the U.S. border in Texas where he asked for asylum.
After being detained in Texas for three months, Mr. B found
his way to the Twin Cities. He followed the advice of a community
member and contacted The Advocates for Human Rights. After a
lengthy series of hearings with the immigration court, an immigration
judge granted him asylum in June 2013.
His immigration status secure, Mr. B opened a tailoring business and began the process to be reunited with his wife.
When asked about adjusting to life in Minnesota, Mr. B notes that the state’s connections with Ethiopia are helping him build a foundation here, and he has feels increasingly welcome as he grows more comfortable with how things work in his new country.