ST. LOUIS (CN) – The Board of Immigration Appeals should have approved a Cameroonian woman’s petition for asylum to protect her from her in-laws, who allegedly beat her, the 8th Circuit ruled.
While living in Cameroon, Elizabeth Ngengwe’s husband died in a car accident. According to traditional mourning rituals, her in-laws shaved her head with a broken bottle, refused to let her dress, took her children from her and forced her to sleep on the floor.
She refused to marry her late husband’s brother, who was older and already had two wives. Because she couldn’t pay a bride’s price of about $1,000, her in-laws allegedly beat her.
She escaped the county and fled to Canada. Later, she moved to Kansas City and petitioned for asylum. Judge Benton ruled that the board was wrong in denying her petition.
“The only evidence indicates that paying a bride’s price does not negate any significant threat to Ngengwe,” Benton said. “An immigration judge must identify a basis in the record for disbelieving a witness’ testimony. It cannot be based on bald speculation.”