RAVENNA – The wife of a Yemeni man and former Kent resident who’s been
detained without charges for nearly a year by federal authorities won a
victory this week in an attempt to re-gain custody of her children.

A new social worker has been assigned to the case of Michele Swensen. She
and Ashraf Al-Jailani have three children who are currently in foster care.
After Al-Jailani was detained, Swensen was hospitalized for depression and
her children were taken by the Portage County Department of Jobs and Family

Swensen, 34, thought she would get her children back last month, but the
department decided to retain custody because she missed three doses of her
antidepressant medication. However, Swensen and Al-Jailani alleged it was
the social worker who had an anti-Muslim bias that led to the change of

The social worker’s personnel file indicates she is one of the department’s
more reliable workers.

However, the department assigned a new social worker to Swensen’s case
Wednesday, a result Swensen hailed in an e-mail.

“I was told that I could never get a new social worker,” she wrote, “that
it’s never done, and that it would never be done. Well, it got done…


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