Mir Najibullah Sadat Sahou was an economist and the governor of the Afghan Central Bank before he fled Afghanistan in 1992. Like many refugees and asylees, Mr. Sahou could not find work in his field. Instead, he drove a taxi, supported his family, and continued his political activity by appearing regularly on a talk show on Ariana Afghanistan International TV.
Mr. Sahou, age 68, was gunned down on September 28, 2011. According to CBS News, the police have identified a suspect and issued an arrest warrant. It appears that the motive was robbery, but given Mr. Sahouís political activism and his prior high-profile job, other motives cannot yet be ruled out.
The story of a prominent person who flees his country and starts over in the U.S. is fairly common among refugees. When I worked in refugee resettlement in the early 1990?s, I knew a Russian man who had designed the radar system for the Backfire Bomber (the Soviet Unionís main long-range bomber). In the U.S., he worked as a mechanic in a machine shop. I also met the former Minister of Finance for the Ethiopian army. He worked in a parking garage. It takes a certain strength of character to go from a prominent station in life to one that is more humble. But like many refugees, Mr. Sahou appears to have carried on for the sake of his children (one of whom is a pre-med student).
Another aspect of Mr. Sahouís story that strikes me is his on-going concern for his home country. Although he did not have a professional position in his field, he continued to work for the betterment of Afghanistan by educating the public through his television show.
Finally, although the motive for the attack seems to have been robbery, there have been many instances of foreign agents operating clandestinely in the United States and attacking political opponents. The most famous example is probably the 1976 assassination in Washington, DC of Chilean activist Orlando Letelier, who was murdered by agents of the Pinochet government, but many foreign government have engaged in violent acts against their nationals in the United States, including China (against the Falun Gong), Cuba (against anti-Castro Cubans), and Iraq (under Saddam Hussein). Just last week, the Justice Department announced it had uncovered an Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador in the United States (a claim disputed by Iran). Given the frequency of such activity, it would be wise to look closely at Mr. Sahouís case to be sure that no foreign government or agency is behind the attack.
Of course, whatever the motive, the murder of a family man who worked hard, served his home country, and loved his adopted country is a terrible tragedy. May he rest in peace.
Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
Jason Dzubow's practice focuses on immigration law, asylum, and appellate litigation. Mr. Dzubow is admitted to practice law in the federal and state courts of Washington, DC and Maryland, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Eleventh, and DC Circuits, all Immigration Courts in the United States, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Capital Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) Coalition. In June 2009, CAIR Coalition honored Mr. Dzubow for his Outstanding Commitment to Defending the Rights and Dignity of Detained Immigrants.