Attorney Goes Looking, after Client Goes Missing during Bathroom Break
By Greg Moses
DALLAS — An asylum seeker from Kosovo faces deportation this evening after Federal agents arrested him during a bathroom break this morning in a building where he was participating in court-ordered mediation.
Bujar Osmani, an ethnic “gypsy” in his mid-twenties was in the process of suing the persons who had represented him during a failed asylum plea.
“During mediation, Bujar went to the bathroom,” explains his Dallas attorney John Wheat Gibson. “He was gone a long time. I went to look for him and could not find him.”
Gibson says a short time later he was told by a secretary “that a couple of men had tied Bujar’s hands behind his back and taken him away after he came out of the bathroom.” The arrest occurred at about 10:30 a.m. Gibson has since requested his client’s release.
“Bujar’s car is still in the parking lot of the mediator’s office,” explains Gibson in an email to the Texas Civil Rights Review. “The Gestapo did not even permit him to tell me or anybody else that they were taking him away. I found out about the abduction a few hours later when Bujar called me.”
Osmani is being detained at the immigration enforcement center at 8101 N. Stemmons Freeway, says Gibson.
Bujar Osmani describes his reasons for leaving Kosovo in a 2007 affidavit::
I left Kosovo in March 2004 escape certain death at the hands of Albanian extremists, who hate gypsies. Several negative events that took place in Kosovo have impacted my life since I was very young. The Serbian military tried to recruit my father forcibly to fight against the Albanian militias and the only reason he managed to escape was that he moved in with my uncle in a different municipality.
After the war ended my father came home but we were attacked by racist Albanians. After the war, many Ashkalis were killed by Albanian extremists. They set our house on fire on February 13, 2000 while my father and I were beaten in front of the family. After the assailants left we went to the local hospital but they refused to treat us there because we were Ashkali. The only place the doctors would treat us was at a humanitarian organization in Prishtina, “Medicines sans Frontiers.”
Since my family could not afford to rebuild our house, we moved in with my paternal uncle. I was taunted and attacked by Albanian extremists on various occasions, because of my Ashkali origin and the membership in the Ashkali Party, which was established to promote the Ashkalis’ rights. On March 19, 2004 during the worst riots by ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, my uncle’s house was attacked and set on fire. I left with my uncle’s wife and five children in their car, through the back gate of the house. I traveled to Bari, Montenegro and since then have had no news about my family.
I went to Genoa in Italy, and applied for asylum using a false name, to conceal my Ashkali identity. Racist prejudice against gypsies is predominant in Italy, as well as among Albanians. The Italians denied me asylum, however, after they found out I was Ashkali. In August therefore I left Genoa to come to the US. I traveled through Mexico and entered the US on September 3, 2004.
When I came to US I did not have any relatives and the only language I could speak fluently was Albanian, so I approached the Albanian community for help. [A person] who happened to be living in Dallas as a refugee and was born in the same municipality as I, provided for me until I could support myself. He helped me with food, clothes, and money, and at the same time he went around to find legal counsel for me, since he could speak English. He said friends suggested he take me to [a person], who, we believed, was a lawyer.
The affidavit goes on to describe how Osmani met with the alleged lawyer and made preparations for an asylum hearing on April 4, 2005. But outside the hearing room, Osmani was approached by a new person who introduced himself as the attorney who would represent him.
After a series of hearings resulted in a “ruined” asylum claim, Osmani sued the pair of persons in a Texas District Court for “negligence, breach of contract, fraud, and civil conspiracy.” It was during court-ordered mediation for the lawsuit that Osmani was arrested and detained by immigration authorities.
“Jury trial is scheduled for 27 October 2008,” says Gibson. “The trial may be delayed by the events today, but it will happen if Osmani is not deported before the trial.”
“The judge we have now is fair and reasonable as far as I can tell,” says attorney Gibson. “But if Bujar is deported to Kosovo he
will have a hard time testifying in the district court in Dallas.”
“I asked DHS District Counsel Paul Hunker to obtain Osmani’s release from detention on an order of supervision on whatever terms DHS think best, until after the jury delivers its verdict,” writes Gibson. “It will be interesting to see what DHS District Director Nuria Prendes decides to do.”