Maggio-Kattar wins asylum for previously denied victim of kidnapping and violence

Monday, May 4, 2015 - 11:45am

Our client "George", a citizen of Cameroon, fled the country after he was arrested and tortured for expressing his opposition to endemic corruption in Cameroon and for organizing meetings regarding health policy in the country. He was kidnapped, forcibly detained, threatened, and badly beaten by security forces after expressing his concerns about government corruption during these meetings.

George originally applied for asylum with different counsel soon after coming to the United States in 2007, but his claim was denied in 2009. The fairness of his original proceedings was marred by ineffective lawyering and faulty translation during his hearing. Maggio + Kattar became involved in the matter after he had exhausted his administrative appeals and the case was pending at the Fourth Circuit. Our attorneys worked painstakingly to review the original transcript of proceedings and point out the flaws in the agency’s initial decision. After submission of the opening brief, the government agreed that the matter should be remanded to the agency for the entry of a new decision.

Upon remand to the immigration court, we worked to obtain new, critical supporting evidence, including a report by a volunteer doctor with Physicians for Human Rights who confirmed that George’s wounds and scars were consistent with the torture that he suffered in Cameroon. Unfortunately, due to backlogs in immigration court proceedings, the individual hearing was delayed for two more years. On the date of the hearing, March 16, 2015, the Immigration Judge granted asylum, and the government waived appeal.

While delighted with the outcome in the case, we do not forget how George suffered during the process. He was separated from his wife, and his two sons, young at the time he fled Cameroon, spent many years not knowing their father. He endured nearly unimaginable stress waiting for the long resolution of his proceedings. While the final outcome was just, the long awaited positive result is bittersweet.