Asylum: Cameroonian Man Seeks Asylum Based on Political Opinion 

Joel* is an anglophone Cameroonian man who partook in protests against the francophone majority ruling party. After the protests, he was arrested and held for 10 months during which he was beaten and accused of trying to overthrow the government. After he was able to escape, the police continue to search for him and he fled. Joel needs pro bono help in seeking political asylum.

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney. Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.


Joel grew up in Cameroon as a member of the French-speaking minority. In 2017, he participated in two protests in Cameroon that opposed the Frankophone government and called for recognition of Anglophone rights. Police officers attempted to arrest him at the protest, but he fled.

In October of 2017, policemen came to Joel’s home and arrested him around 6 pm. They recognized him while he was helping his father with some inventory at his father’s shop. When they arrested him they stated their reason being that he was part of the separatist group. Even though Joel does not consider himself part of the separatist group, he did protest against the government and its treatment of Anglophones like him. However, his political views are that he opposes the arbitrary arrest and marginalization of his people, is another reason why he was arrested

Joel was detained for 10 months total and was charged with dissenting the government. He was tortured during this time; they kicked him, beat his legs and soles of his feet, and used slurs. He has only one scar on his shin.

Joel managed to escape and fled to the United States. He is eligible for asylum, which will be adjudicated in front of an immigration judge.

Joel is detained in Farmville, Virginia, and speaks French.

Please contact our Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, Jennifer Grishkin at, if you are interested in taking this case.

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.