Current Cases

Past Cases in the U.S.

Criminal Petitions



In the United States, HRLF has won several favorable judgments as lead counsel and/or in collaboration with others. HRLF’s current docket in the United States also includes several pending cases. HRLF brings civil lawsuits under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and the Torture Victim’s Protection Act (TVPA) against human rights violators.

Human Rights Litigation

Gang Chen et al. v. Zhao Zhizhen

A case of first impression was filed by HRLF in 2004 against a propagandist for furthering persecution through his propaganda polemic. Filed under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), the case was based largely on the ICTR’s landmark decision in Prosecutor v. Nahimana et al., Case No. ICTR-99-52-A, Judgment on Appeal (Nov. 28, 2007), holding journalists liable for inciting persecution against the Hutu population in Rwanda and the Nuremberg Tribunal’s case against Julius Streicher. While Plaintiffs did not literally prevail, the case opens the door for others to hold propagandists like Ferdinand Nahimana and Joseph Goebbels accountable. Weaponized words are as much a part of persecutory arsenals as their counterparts, torture and violence.

Detailed Case Summary and Documents

Peng Liang v. Zhao Zhifei

In July 2001, HRLF filed a complaint against the Director of Public Security and Communist Party Chief of Police Zhao Zhifei, who is also the Chief of Police in Hebei Province and the Director of the Security Division of the Chinese Communist Party, for his role in the torture and persecution of Falun Gong religious believers in the province of Hebei. The case was filed with the Southern District Court of New York. The Judge in the case entered a default judgment against Zhao Zhifei in November of 2001. HRLF filed the case with Attorney Carey D’Avino.

Doe. v. Liu Qi

In 2002, HRLF, along with the Center for Justice and Accountability, filed a complaint against Liu Qi, the former Mayor of Beijing, for his role in the torture and persecution of Falun Gong believers in Beijing, China. Both the Chinese government and U.S. State Department submitted statements urging that the case be dismissed. The Judge in the case rejected the Governments’ arguments and entered a default judgment against Liu Qi. The Judge declared that Liu Qi had violated the rights of Jane Doe I and Jane Doe II “to be free from torture and arbitrary detention” and the right of Petit to be “free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

Detailed Case Summary and Court Documents

Does v. Jiang Zemin

HRLF filed a complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former President of China and Secretary of the Communist Party, in the United States District Court of Northern Illinois in October 2002. In 2004, the district court dismissed based on the defendant’s status as head of state when he was served with process. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which acknowledged that the defendant had played a major role in the persecution of the plaintiffs, upheld the dismissal. Plaintiffs filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court. In April of 2005, certiorari was denied.

Detailed Case Summary and Court Documents

The U.S. case against Jiang Zemin led to HRLF’s filing of criminal cases against Jiang Zemin in Spain and Hong Kong and its assistance in similar cases North America, Central America, Europe, and Asia.

Representative Asylum Cases

HRLF has also regularly represented persons seeking asylum.  A sample of those cases are described below.

Sheng Yuan v. Attorney General

The First Circuit granted HRLF’s Petition for Review.  Based on the strength of the brief, the First Circuit remanded the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals which in turn remanded to the Immigration Court to address the finding that the factual record is sufficiently similar to those of her daughter, who had been awarded asylum, to warrant remand.

In the Matter of Yang Chao

The Board of Immigration Appeals granted HRLF’s Motion to re-open although it was filed over eighteen years after the original filing on several bases.  As a result, Mr. Yang, his wife and young children are residing safely within the U.s. as a family.

United Nations

HRLF also prevailed in an asylum case at the United Nations, after the appeal had been dismissed at all levels.

Telecommunications and Commercial Cases

Drendel and Drendel, Professional Corp. v. Universal Communications Network, Inc.

This case was removed from New York to Illinois based on the Defendants’ failure to satisfy the due process requirements of Section (c) of the Illinois Long-Arm Statute in New York court.  Defendants agreed to withdraw the case because the relevant statute, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, exempted not-for-profits from penalty based on the sending of commercial information via facsimile.

Dragon Springs Inc. v. Schindler Elevator Corporation

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