Asylum Granted for Haynes and Boone Pro Bono Client


HOUSTON/NEW YORK – A team of Haynes and Boone, LLP lawyers led by Associate Pierre Grosdidier has won asylum for a Chad native who endured arrest, torture and incarceration for exercising his political rights and campaigning for a better Chad.

The Haynes and Boone team included New York-based Counsel Larry Rouslin and Associate Yonit Caplow. They were joined by Martje Verhoeven-de Vries Lentsch, a Dutch attorney seconded to Haynes and Boone in Houston.

Grosdidier, who was born and raised in West Africa, accepted the case following a request from the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), which sought a volunteer French-speaking attorney.

“The entire case proceeded on a very short timeline,” Grosdidier said. “We had barely two weeks to file the I-589 asylum application, and then five weeks to prepare the memorandum of law for the interview. It was fast-paced, but a terrific experience with great teamwork.”

The asylee had been exercising his political rights in N’Djamena until he was arrested, beaten and thrown in a secret jail. During his interrogation, the asylee was told that he would be sent to the notoriously harsh Koro Toro prison in Chad’s remote northern Borkou Region.

The asylee eventually escaped and made his way to the United States, where he received support from the Chadian community in Washington, New York and New Jersey. He received therapy from the Bellevue’s Survivor of Torture Program, as well as legal help from NYLAG. Additionally, Bellevue Hospital Center found volunteer physicians who prepared physical and psychological evaluations of the asylee.

NYLAG’s case manager helped steer a fast-track effort for asylum. Grosdidier, who is based in Houston, met with his client in the firm’s New York office via video-conferencing. Both Grosdidier and Verhoeven-de Vries Lentsch prepared the application and the memorandum of law, while Caplow accompanied the asylee to his personal interview at the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. On Aug. 26, he obtained asylum in the United States.

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