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Egyptian teenager has strong asylum case

Think back to when you were a teenager. Think about what you were worried about at that age. Most teens in South Carolina are concerned about getting good grades in school, social functions and other relatively mundane things. Unfortunately, in other parts of the world, teenagers have to worry about being arrested, persecuted or tortured for who they are or what they believe. Sadly, some of them will even die just for being who they are.

In some instances, however, an individual is able to escape and make it to the United States. Once here, he or she can apply for asylum and, if he or she wins his or her case, remain in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident.

A recent example of young pepole fleeing persecution is that of a 17-year-old Egyptian science prodigy. Prior to a recent trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, he had spent time in Egyptian prisons accused of trying to incite others against the military-backed government. The teenager denies the accusations, yet he is concerned that he could spend the rest of his life in jail if he returns to Egypt.

So, he has applied for asylum. In order to be granted asylum, he must show that he has a well-founded fear of persecution because of either his political opinion, race, national origin, religion or membership in a particular social group. Because he has already been jailed and because his chaperones that they would take him regardless of if he wanted to go when he expressed concern about returning to Egypt, he has a strong case.

Though there are some political aspects to his case that aren't present in most asylum applications, it is very possible that this young man will soon be on track for legal permanent residency and safe from the Egyptian government.

Source: The New York Times, "Egyptian, 17, Seeks Asylum After Traveling to Intel Science Fair," Jennifer Medina and Ian Lovett, May 21, 2014

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