Opinion Editorial
U.S. Government Should Stop Prosecution of Assyrian Attorney
By Ameel Yowash

Attorney Robert DeKelaita speaking at a rally in support of him.
(AINA) -- This week, the conservative media sparked a bit of an uprising in the name of the Assyrian Christian community, and one of its leading advocates, Robert DeKelaita.

Robert DeKelaita was indicted in September of 2014 by the US Attorneys Office, through the Department of Homeland Security, for allegedly coaching his clients to lie about being persecuted in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq. The indictment brought disbelief and outrage across the Assyrian community, who have been demanding that the charges be dropped against DeKelaita, a prominent attorney with a reputation for integrity and advocacy on behalf of minorities.

In his article on attorney Robert DeKelaita, writer Leo Hohmann points out how the attorney saved and changed many lives and for many "was a light at the end of a very long, horrid tunnel."

Hohmann's piece became news across the United States and has come to highlight not only the lack of concern the United States government seems to have for the persecuted Assyrian Christians in the Middle East, but has also targeted the Assyrian community's most respected advocate. In his program, Glenn Beck addressed the issue as well, noting that the US government "has gone after a Christian lawyer..." Along with Johnny Moore Jr., Beck addressed the lack of sensitivity and concern the US government has had about the persecution of Assyrian Christians in Iraq and Syria. Moore noted that the government is "going after a lawyer that's arguing for Iraqi Christians." Numerous others have joined Lohmann, Beck, and Moore in pointing out the error in the US Attorney's folly. And the chorus is picking up for good reason.

Robert DeKelaita is no ordinary immigration attorney, he has been described as a "pillar in the Assyrian Christian community," having not only been involved in supporting Assyrian history and culture, advocating in Washington DC for the establishment of the Nineveh Plain as a safe haven for the persecuted Christians, but also being a donor to his the Church and various societies. And unlike the average attorney, on numerous occasions he has ventured into dangerous zones in Iraq to personally look into the state of the endangered community there.

The latest outcry from the American Christian media represents a turning point in the state of the Assyrian community in America. At no time in history has such interest in the community shown itself, accompanied by a sharp criticism of the lack of concern on the part of the government. One can rightly identify the latest uproar as nothing less than a quiet grass-roots revolution.

Ameel Yowash is an Assyrian from Chicago.


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