Cases & Deals

Cameroonian client wins U.S. political asylum

Clients Cameroon applicant for U.S. political asylum

In January 2005, Jones Day successfully obtained asylee status for pro bono client Emmanuel Nji. Mr. Nji arrived in the United States in August 2003 with a falsified visa and passport. He had been jailed twice in the Republic of Cameroon for being a member of the Southern Cameroons National Council and the Southern Cameroons Youth League, the youth wing of the SCNC. Both organizations peacefully advocate for the independence of the English-speaking Southern Cameroon states from the oppressive French-speaking regime of the Republic of Cameroon, led by President Paul Biya. Over the course of his two imprisonments, Mr. Nji spent over eight months in jail, during which time he was often beaten, tortured and interrogated about his knowledge of, and participation in, the SCNC and SCYL. The police also brutalized Mr. Nji's brother and pregnant wife. Mr. Nji's wife was beaten so badly that she miscarried and spent three weeks in the hospital.

Jones Day began representing Mr. Nji in January 2004. We filed Mr. Nji's application for asylum and represented him before an asylum officer. The asylum officer denied Mr. Nji's request for asylum based on an adverse credibility rating regarding his involvement in the SCNC and SCYL and referred him to immigration court. Jones Day attorneys filed a supplemental brief and conducted extensive research into the country conditions in Cameroon and the factions within the SCNC and SCYL. We successfully located an SCNC official in North America who could testify not only to Biya's oppressive treatment of SCNC members but also to Mr. Nji's involvement with the SCNC. Based on the overwhelming evidence of Mr. Nji's past torture and well-founded fear of future persecution, the immigration judge granted Mr. Nji asylee status. Jones Day continues to represent Mr. Nji in applying for derivative asylum for his wife and daughter, who still live in fear in Cameroon.

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