Tue May 8, 2012
Albanian Who Tried To Help Bring Down Mobster Gets Asylum In U.S.
An Albanian man who more than a decade ago agreed to help the U.S. Justice build a case against a mobster accused of human smuggling has finally won his long-sought quest for asylum in the U.S.
Edmond Demiraj, his wife and adult son have been granted full asylum, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.
"The story begins shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, in Texas, where Demiraj heard his boss, Bill Bedini, had been arrested on human-smuggling charges.
"Demiraj, who wasn't in the U.S. legally, says he turned himself in and told a federal prosecutor in Texas that he wanted to help. But he had an important question once the talks got under way.
" 'And I ask her, what protection can you give to my family, I do have a family, those people are very [dangerous], very, and she said, we know that,' Demiraj says.
"Demiraj says the prosecutor agreed to give him a green card and provide security for his wife and children. But nothing was in writing with the Justice Department. Then Bedini, the alleged mobster, left the country after getting released on bail. And any deal that Demiraj may have had was off."
Deported to Albania soon after, Demiraj was shot and left for dead by the mobster. He recovered, eventually made his way back to Texas, and began years of legal efforts to get asylum for himself and his family. A federal appeals court turned him down. Demiraj was looking to take the case to the Supreme Court. But today, his attorney announced, the government agreed to his asylum requests.