Cases & Deals

Cameroonian client wins U.S. asylum

Clients Cameroon applicant for U.S. asylum

In another of a long, recent string of victories, another Jones Day Chicago team won asylum for a client from Cameroon who was persecuted on account of his membership in and activities on behalf of the Southern Cameroonian National Council (the "SCNC"), a political group seeking sovereignty for Southern Cameroon and its primarily English-speaking residents. Cameroon is ruled by French speakers from the country's majority Francophone provinces. The minority Anglophone provinces, although rich in natural resources, suffer discrimination economically and politically at the hands of the Francophone majority. There is also a history, reported by U.S. State Department, of persecution by the Cameroonian government of opposition led political activists. Our client testified that he was imprisoned, starved and beaten on several occasions due to his SCNC and other political activities. After his family bribed a guard to facilitate his escape from Cameroon's most feared prison, our client obtained a visa for travel to the United States where he then applied for asylum. Led by Karey Skiermont and Laurie Earl, a team of Chicago office associates that also includes Christian Auty, David Birnbaum and Nicole Henning, persuaded a skeptical judge that our client was telling the truth about the events of his persecution in Cameroon. Karey's direct examination of our client was interrupted frequently by the judge who, after the first day of hearing, instructed the team to attempt to obtain additional evidence from the SCNC corroborating certain aspects of our client's testimony. The team was persistent in marshalling substantial evidence from the SCNC supporting our client's claims and presented that evidence today at a second hearing. That evidence, in addition to medical evidence concerning our client's scars being consistent with the whipping with batons he suffered by prison guards and his mental state and poor memory being consistent with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, persuaded the judge to grant asylum. Kudos to the team and Karey particularly for her facile sparring with the judge in a manner that was both firm but respectful and, ultimately, highly persuasive.