French-speaking Muslim man seeks help after facing discrimination based on his religion, nationality, and family ties to an HIV+ family member, in Equatorial Guinea.

Dester* is a 22-year-old man from Equatorial Guinea. Dester fled Equatorial Guinea because of discrimination he faced based on his religion, nationality, and family ties to an HIV+ family member. While in Equatorial Guinea, Dester was beaten by the police, forced to move multiple times, subject to constant harassment, fired from his job, and forced to pay a “foreigner” tax. Dester entered the U.S. in 2020 and is now looking for an attorney to represent him in seeking Asylum and Withholding of Removal.

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.  

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Dester* converted to Islam in 2015. In 2016, Dester was forced to move because of his practice of praying in the morning. At work, Dester was forcibly arrested by several police officers. The police took him into custody and told him that he was disturbing others but did not tell him what he was being charged with. While detained by the police, Dester was violently beaten and subjected to inhumane conditions. Eventually, Dester’s father paid the police to release him. In 2018, Dester was verbally harassed by a group of three acquaintances due to his religion. On one occasion, the three people broke into Dester’s house and damaged his property, forcing Dester to move yet again.

 

               In addition to his religion, Dester was subject to discrimination based on his Cameroonian Nationality. Although Dester was born in Equatorial Guinea, his father was Cameroonian and Dester lived with his extended family for five years in Cameroon. In Equatorial Guinea, Dester was forced to pay a “tax” to the police because of his “foreign” status.

 

Finally, Dester also faced discrimination in Equatorial Guinea because his father had HIV/AIDS. In 2018, patrons of his father’s restaurant stopped coming in. Neighbors and people in the community would refuse to let their children near him. Dester lost his job because his boss told him he could not risk the health of the customers — even though his HIV test came back negative.

 

Dester entered the U.S. in 2020 and is now looking for an attorney to represent him in seeking Asylum and Withholding of Removal.

 

  • Timeline: Dester has a master calendar (scheduling) hearing on 8/4/2020 in Arlington. In response to COVID-19, the courts currently permit attorneys to attend all hearings telephonically.

 

  • Location: Caroline County, Virginia (detained). Attorneys can schedule private calls with detained clients rather than conducting in-person legal visits

 

  • Language: French (preferred), Spanish.  

 

For more information about this case, please contact Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney Jennifer Grishkin at jennifer@caircoalition.org or 202-866-9287.

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy

Sample?
No
Opportunity?
On