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Georgian police abused LGBT+ activists with strip searches, court rules

Ex-Soviet nation breached international obligations by failing to protect them from inhumane and degrading treatment, court rules.

 

By Umberto Bacchi

 

Thomson Reuters Foundation (08.10.2020) – https://bit.ly/3lE5nTM – Europe’s top rights court said on Thursday Georgian police had deliberately humiliated LGBT+ activists by strip searching them during a raid, a ruling campaigners hope will help change attitudes towards gay people among local authorities.

 

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found the ex-Soviet republic had breached its international obligations by failing to protect the activists from inhumane and degrading treatment, and by not properly investigating the incident.

 

“The judgment exposes systemic discriminatory attitudes within the Georgian police, which must now change,” said Philip Leach, director of the British-based European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), which represented the claimants.

 

The Georgian government did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

 

Georgia has witnessed a cultural clash between liberal forces and religious conservatives over the past decade as it has modernised and introduced radical reforms, though it remains socially conservative for the most part.

 

It has passed anti-discrimination laws in an effort to move closer to the European Union, but LGBT+ rights groups say there is a lack of adequate protection by law enforcement officials in cases involving homophobic abuse.

 

Thursday’s ruling stems from a December 2009 raid on the Tbilisi offices of the Inclusive Foundation, Georgia’s first but now-defunct LGBT+ organisation, where a group of campaigners, mainly women, had gathered to prepare an art exhibition.

 

According to witness statements, plain-clothed police officers looking for drugs arrived without showing a warrant and became aggressive upon realising they had entered the premises of an LGBT+ group.

 

The officers insulted the women present, calling them “sick”, “perverts” and “dykes”, and threatened to reveal their sexual orientation to their families.

 

Cannabis was found inside the desk of the group’s director, who was arrested and charged with a drug offence. He later confessed to the crime and was released on the condition he pay a fine as part of a plea bargain.

 

Nearly all of the women were told to undress – but police did not search the clothes they were told to take off.

 

In 2010, two of them – Ekaterine Aghdgomelashvili and Tinatin Japaridze – filed a criminal complaint for police abuse with local authorities.

 

They later appealed to the ECHR, which found that while the local case was still ongoing, authorities had yet to undertake a single investigative act.

 

In a unanimous ruling, judges said police behaviour was “grossly inappropriate” and motivated by homophobic hatred, the court said in a statement.

 

Neither the police nor the government had given reason for the strip searches, leading judges to conclude “their sole purpose had been to embarrass and punish the applicants”, the court added.

 

“It’s a very emotional moment. This case changed quite a lot of my life, negatively mostly,” Japaridze told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an online call. “After 11 years I have a sense that justice… is in place.”

 

The court awarded her and Aghdgomelashvili $2,000 each in damages, and rights campaigners hailed the ruling.

 

Keti Bakhtadze, a lawyer at the Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG), a Georgian LGBT+ group of which Aghdgomelashvili and Japaridze are members, called it “very important”.

 

She said she hoped it would push the government to push legislative changes and introduce awareness campaigns and training on LGBT+ issues for law enforcement officials.





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LITHUANIA: ILGA-Europe welcome a landmark ECHR judgment on online hate speech

The European Court of Human Rights found Lithuania’s failure to investigate online hateful comments against a gay couple to violate their rights to private and family life, as well as being discriminatory on the ground of sexual orientation.

By Daniele Paletta

 

ILGA-Europe (15.01.2020) – https://bit.ly/2RJew03 – The landmark case of Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania originated after one of the applicants posted a photograph of him kissing his male partner on his Facebook page, which led to hundreds of online hate comments. Some were about LGBT people in general, while others personally threatened the couple. The applicants alleged that they had been discriminated on the ground of sexual orientation, on account of the public authorities’ refusal to launch a pre-trial investigation into hateful comments left on the first applicant’s Facebook page. They also argued that the Lithuanian authorities’ refusal to launch a pre-trial investigation had left them without the possibility of legal redress.

 

In a unanimous judgment, the Court found violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights, taken in conjunction with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).

 

The Court reiterated the authorities’ positive obligation under Article 8 to effectively investigate whether the comments regarding the applicants’ sexual orientation constituted incitement to hatred and violence. The Court considered that the failure to discharge such obligation was due to the “discriminatory state of mind” of the authorities. Accordingly, the Court held that it constituted violation of Article 14, taken in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention.

 

The Court found that the statistics provided inter alia by the third-party interveners and ECRI’s report demonstrated a clear lack of willingness by the Lithuanian authorities to prosecute perpetrators. The applicants had been denied an effective domestic remedy in breach of Article 13 of the Convention.

 

Importantly the Court reaffirmed the right of individuals to openly identify themselves as gay, lesbian or any other sexual minority and the growing general tendency to view relationships between same-sex couples as falling within the concept of “family life”.

 

The Court’s judgment was informed by a third party intervention submitted jointly by the AIRE Centre (Advice on individual rights in Europe), ILGA-Europe, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI).

 

“Today’s judgment is ever more important in establishing State’s positive obligations in tackling hate speech against LGBTI people in Lithuania and across Council of Europe member States amidst the rise in hate in a number of countries,” said Arpi Avetisyan, Senior Litigation Officer, ILGA-Europe.

 

“The Court was clear that such ‘undisguised calls on attack’ on the persons’ physical and mental integrity require protection by the criminal law and public authorities must apply the law without discrimination. We hope this judgment will be implemented duly and promptly ensuring equality and safety for the LGBTI community in Lithuania.”

 

Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law at King’s College London (UK) and co-representative of the applicants, said:  “I am very pleased that the European Court of Human Rights has sent such a strong message to national authorities across Europe that they must take anti-LGBTI hate speech seriously, and investigate complaints, even about a single hateful comment on Facebook, let alone one that LGBTI persons should be killed.”

 

Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, Member of the Vilnius City Council (Lithuania) and co-representative of the applicants, said: “The European Court of Human Rights has concluded today that the Lithuanian authorities systematically fail in effectivelly responding to homophobic hate speech online. I am positive that this judgment will become a powerful entry point to start conversation with Lithuanian police, prosecutors and judges about the measures that we must take in order to encourage reporting and effectivelly tackle anti-LGBT crimes.“

 

According to Vladimir Simonko, Executive Director of Lithuanian Gay League (LGL), this case raises questions of considerable public importance about the nature and scope of the positive obligation of Member States under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) to protect individuals from homophobic hate speech and incitement to violence.

 

“It is appalling that the Lithuanian Government were challenging the very fact that a civil-society organisation might also have a legitimate interest in the outcome of the applicants’ case, and thus questioning the fundamental role of non-governmental organisations in performing a “public watchdog” function in a pluralist, democratic society,” said Simonko.

 

According to Livio Zilli, Senior Legal Adviser & UN Representative with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ): “Among other things, the ICJ welcomes the Court’s finding in its judgment today that, as a result of their discriminatory attitudes towards the applicants’ sexual orientation, the authorities had denied them an effective domestic remedy in connection with their complaints about a breach of the right to private life under the Convention.”





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ECHR / AZERBAIJAN: Freedom of expression in a religious context

Conviction of author and editor for article’s remarks on Islam was excessive, breached their freedom of expression

 

Registrar of the European Court (05.12.2019) – www.echr.coe.int – In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Tagiyev and Huseynov v. Azerbaijan (application no. 13274/08) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

The case concerned the applicants’ conviction for inciting religious hatred and hostility with their remarks on Islam in an article they had published in 2006.

 

The Court found in particular that the national courts had not justified why the applicants’ conviction had been necessary when the article had clearly only been comparing Western and Eastern values, and had contributed to a debate on a matter of public interest, namely the role of religion in society.

 

Indeed, the courts had simply endorsed a report finding that certain remarks had amounted to incitement to religious hatred and hostility, without putting them in context or even trying to balance the applicants’ right to impart to the public their views on religion against the right of religious people to respect for their beliefs.

 

Principal facts

 

The applicants, Rafig Nazir oglu Tagiyev and Samir Sadagat oglu Huseynov, are Azerbaijani nationals who were born in 1950 and 1975 respectively. Mr Tagiyev, now deceased, lived in Baku and was a well-known writer and columnist. Mr Huseynov lives in Lankaran (Azerbaijan) and used to work as editor-in-chief of Sanat Gazeti (Art Newspaper).

 

The case concerns the applicants’ conviction for the publication of an article in November 2006 in Sanat Gazeti as part of a series written by Mr Tagiyev comparing Western and Eastern values. The article, entitled “Europe and us”, led to criticism by various Azerbaijani and Iranian religious figures and groups and to a religious fatwa calling for the applicants’ death.

 

Shortly after publication of the article, the applicants were prosecuted for inciting religious hatred and hostility. A district court ordered the applicants’ detention pending trial.

 

The investigator in charge of the case ordered a forensic linguistic and Islamic assessment of the article. The resulting report characterised certain remarks, in particular those concerning morality in Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims living in Europe and Eastern philosophers, as incitement to religious hatred and hostility.

 

Endorsing the conclusions of that report, the domestic courts found the applicants guilty as charged in May 2007 and sentenced them to three and four years’ imprisonment respectively. All their subsequent appeals were unsuccessful.

 

The applicants were released in December 2007 following a presidential pardon, having spent more than one year in detention.

 

Complaints, procedure and composition of the Court

 

Relying in particular on Article 10 (freedom of expression), the applicants alleged that their criminal conviction had been unjustified and excessive.

 

The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 7 March 2008.

 

Judgment was given by a Chamber of seven judges, composed as follows:

 

Angelika Nußberger (Germany), President, Gabriele Kucsko-Stadlmayer (Austria), Ganna Yudkivska (Ukraine), Síofra O’Leary (Ireland), Mārtiņš Mits (Latvia), Lәtif Hüseynov (Azerbaijan), Lado Chanturia (Georgia),

 

and also Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar.

 

Decision of the Court

 

First, the Court noted that there was no dispute that the applicants’ criminal conviction had amounted to an interference with their right to freedom of expression. That interference had had a basis in national law, Article 283 of the Criminal Code, and had aimed at protecting the rights of others and preventing disorder.

 

The Government had argued that the applicants’ conviction had also met a pressing social need as their article had been an abusive attack on Islam and had offended and insulted religious feelings.

 

The Court, on the other hand, found that it was clear from reading the whole text of the article that it had mainly been a comparison of Western and European values and should therefore be examined not only in the context of religious beliefs, but also in that of a debate on a matter of public interest, namely the role of religion in society.

 

Furthermore, it found that the national courts had failed to justify the applicants’ conviction with “relevant and sufficient” reasons. The courts had merely endorsed the forensic report, without giving any explanation as to why certain remarks in the article had been singled out as constituting incitement to religious hatred and hostility. The report had essentially provided a legal characterisation of those remarks, thus going far beyond resolving language and religious issues. Such a situation was unacceptable for the Court, which stressed that all legal matters should be resolved exclusively by the courts.

 

Moreover, the courts had not assessed the remarks in context. They had neither considered the public interest nor the author’s intention, and in particular whether the use of provocation or exaggeration had been justified.

 

Indeed, in their decisions convicting the applicants, the courts had not even tried to balance the applicants’ right to impart to the public their views on religion against the right of religious people to respect for their beliefs.

 

Lastly, the Court found that there had been no justification for the imposition of imprisonment on the applicants. Such a severe sanction could dissuade the press from openly discussing religion and its role in society, and generally have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.

 

The Court concluded that the applicants’ conviction had been disproportionate and had therefore not been “necessary in a democratic society”, in violation of Article 10.

 

Just satisfaction (Article 41)

 

The Court held that Azerbaijan was to pay Mr Tagiyev’s wife and Mr Huseynov 12,000 euros (EUR) each in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 850 in respect of costs and expenses.





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FINLAND / ECtHR: An Iraqi asylum-seeker deported from Finland and killed in Iraq

Finnish decision to deport an Iraqi man who was killed when he arrived back in his country of origin violated the Convention

N.A. v. Finland (application no. 25244/18)

 

Registrar of the European Court (14.11.2019) – In today’s Chamber judgment 1 in the case of N.A. v. Finland (application no. 25244/18) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

 

a violation of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights owing to decisions to deport the applicant’s father to his country of origin, Iraq, where he was subsequently killed.

 

The Court found in particular that the Finnish authorities had not carried out a thorough enough assessment of the individual risks faced by the applicant’s father in Iraq although they had accepted his account of having faced two near deadly attacks in a context of tensions between Shia and Sunni Muslim groups, the father belonging to the latter.

 

The Finnish authorities’ decision to expel the father, who had had a conflict with a Shia colleague in his place of work as an investigator for the Interior Ministry, had ultimately forced him to agree to return voluntarily to Iraq, where he had been shot and killed soon after arrival.

 

Principal facts

 

The applicant, Ms N.A., is an Iraqi national who was born in 1996 and lives in Finland.

 

The applicant’s father was a Sunni Muslim Arab from Baghdad. He served as a major in the army under former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and then for an American logistics company after the fall of that regime. Between 2007 and 2015 he worked in the Iraqi Office of the Inspector General, part of the Interior Ministry, where he was an investigator and then a leading officer on human rights crimes and corruption cases. He often had to investigate intelligence service officers or officers in militia groups. His work became more dangerous when Shia militia gained prominence.

 

He was investigating a case in 2015 when he had a disagreement with a colleague, who allegedly belonged to a leading Shia militia group, the Badr Organisation. The colleague assaulted the applicant’s father and insulted him but was then transferred to the intelligence service and promoted. In February 2015 there was an attempt on the applicant’s father’s life when someone tried to shoot him. He reported the attack but later concluded that it was not being investigated. Feeling that he would not be protected in Iraq or receive any justice, he resigned in March 2015.

 

In April 2015 a bomb exploded in the family car just after the applicant’s father and mother had got out of it and in May of that year the applicant herself was the victim of an attempted kidnapping.

 

The family arrived in Finland in September 2015 and the father sought international protection. The authorities rejected his asylum application in December 2016, the Immigration Service accepting his account of the facts but deciding that Sunni Arabs did not per se face persecution in Iraq.

 

An appeal by the applicant’s father was dismissed by the Helsinki Administrative Court in September 2017. It held that he faced no danger owing to his past work for the regime of Saddam Hussein or the American logistics company. There was no proof that the attacks on him had been due to his conflict with his former colleague at the Interior Ministry, rather the general security situation in Iraq was to blame. There was also no real risk of persecution owing to his Sunni background. He was refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court at the end of November 2017.

 

The applicant’s father returned to Iraq in November 2017 under assisted voluntary return. In December 2017 the applicant learned that her aunt’s apartment, used previously by the family as a hiding place, had been attacked. Later that month she was informed that her father had been killed by unidentified gunmen. According to documents submitted by the applicant her father was shot three times in a street in Baghdad.

 

Complaints, procedure and composition of the Court

 

The applicant complained that her father’s expulsion to Iraq had violated Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment).

 

The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 23 May 2018.

 

Judgment was given by a Chamber of seven judges, composed as follows:

 

Ksenija Turković (Croatia), President, Krzysztof Wojtyczek (Poland), Aleš Pejchal (the Czech Republic), Pauliine Koskelo (Finland), Tim Eicke (the United Kingdom), Jovan Ilievski (North Macedonia), Raffaele Sabato (Italy),

 

and also Abel Campos, Section Registrar.

 

Decision of the Court

 

Article 2 and Article 3

 

The Court took note of the Government’s argument that Finland did not have jurisdiction as the applicant’s father had returned voluntarily to his land of origin. However, the applicant had argued that the return had not been voluntary, but had rather been forced on him by the Finnish domestic authorities’ decisions. Her father had not wanted to attract the attention of the Iraqi authorities by being forcibly returned and had not wanted to have a two-year Schengen area visa ban.

 

The Court found that the applicant’s father would not have returned to Iraq if an enforceable expulsion decision had not been issued against him and so his decision had not been voluntary in the sense of being a free choice. The respondent State’s jurisdiction could therefore be engaged under Article 1 of the Convention.

 

The Court also cited the lack of a genuinely free choice as a reason to reject a further implicit argument by the Government that the applicant’s father had waived his right to Convention protection because he had signed a declaration that no agency or authority taking part in his return could be held liable or responsible.

 

The Court noted that the Finnish authorities had found the applicant’s father’s account of events in his asylum application to be both credible and coherent, including the possibility that he could be of interest to the Iraqi authorities or non-State actors.

 

The domestic authorities had also referred extensively to relevant country information on Iraq, which showed among other things that there were tensions between Shia militia groups and Sunni Arab Muslims, that there had been incidents where Iraqis who had worked for American companies had been killed, and that the security situation in Baghdad required decision makers to look at the risks faced by particular individuals facing deportation.

 

When taken cumulatively, and considered in the light of the general security situation and violence, it was possible that such factors could give rise to a real risk. However, the domestic authorities had not made such a cumulative assessment.

 

Even more importantly, the courts had not given enough consideration to the violent attempts on the applicant’s father’s life before he had left Iraq, although the Finnish authorities had acknowledged the shooting and car bomb as facts. Instead, they had seen those incidents as part of the general security situation, rather than being focussed on the applicant’s father in particular.

 

The Court could not see a plausible explanation for why the Finnish authorities had not taken those two incidents more seriously or looked at them in terms of a risk that the father had been personally targeted. Furthermore, the dispute between the father and his colleague had been dismissed as a personal conflict rather than being examined for possible links with their religious affiliations and tensions between Shia and Sunni groups or the attempts on the father’s life.

 

The Court was thus not convinced that the Finnish authorities’ assessment of the risks faced by the father if he was returned to Iraq had met the requirements of Article 2 or Article 3. Indeed, those authorities were or should have been aware of the risks he faced.

 

The Court concluded that the Finnish authorities had failed to comply with their obligations under Article 2 or Article 3 when dealing with the applicant’s father’s asylum application and there had been a violation of both of those provisions. It rejected a complaint by the applicant about her own rights under Article 3 having been violated.

 

Just satisfaction (Article 41)

 

The Court held that Finland was to pay the applicant 20,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 4,500 in respect of costs and expenses.

 

The judgment is available only in English.

 





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ECHR/ SWITZERLAND: An Afghan asylum-seeker converted to Christianity should not be deported

Switzerland would breach the Convention by returning to Afghanistan an Afghan convert to Christianity

 

Registrar of the ECHR (05.11.2019) – In today’s Chamber judgment 1 in the case of A.A. v. Switzerland (application no. 32218/17) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there would be: a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights in the event of the applicant’s return to Afghanistan.

 

The case concerned the removal from Switzerland to Afghanistan of an Afghan national of Hazara ethnicity who was a Muslim convert to Christianity.

 

The Court noted that according to many international documents on the situation in Afghanistan, Afghans who had become Christians or who were suspected of conversion would be exposed to a risk of persecution by various groups. It could take the form of State persecution and result in the death penalty.

 

The Court noted that, while the authenticity of the applicant’s conversion in Switzerland had been accepted by the Federal Administrative Court, it had not carried out a sufficient assessment of the risks that could be personally faced by the applicant if he were returned to Afghanistan. The Court found in particular that the file did not contain any evidence that the applicant had been questioned about the everyday practice of his Christian faith since his baptism in Switzerland and how he could, if returned, continue to practise it in Afghanistan, in particular in Kabul, where he had never lived and where he said that he would be unable to rebuild his future life.

 

Principal facts

 

The applicant is an Afghan national who claims to have been born in 1996 and lives in the Canton of Ticino.

 

In March 2014 A.A. arrived in Switzerland. He applied for asylum and stated that he had left Afghanistan because of the lack of security in that country and his conversion from Islam to Christianity.

 

In February 2015 the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) rejected his application, noting that the grounds for asylum were not credible.

 

In October 2016 the Federal Administrative Court confirmed the SEM’s decision on the credibility of the asylum grounds, but found that the applicant’s conversion in Switzerland was genuine. It was of the view that the applicant would not be exposed to serious harm in Afghanistan as a result of his conversion and ordered his removal to that country. It further held that, while the complainant could not be returned to his region of origin (Ghazni province), he would have an internal protection alternative in Kabul, where his uncles and cousins lived. His conversion to Christianity, which had occurred in Switzerland, was not a decisive factor, as it was not known to his relatives in Kabul.

 

In May 2017 the duty judge decided to apply Rule 39 of the Court’s Rules of Court and asked the Swiss government not to deport A.A. to Afghanistan during the proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights.

 

Complaints, procedure and composition of the Court

 

Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), A.A. alleged that he would be subjected to ill-treatment if returned to Afghanistan.

 

The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 27 April 2017.

 

Judgment was given by a Chamber of seven judges, composed as follows:
Paul Lemmens (Belgium), President, Georgios A. Serghides (Cyprus), Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque (Portugal), Helen Keller (Switzerland), Alena Poláčková (Slovakia), María Elósegui (Spain), Erik Wennerström (Sweden), and also Stephen Phillips, Section Registrar.

 

Decision of the Court

 

Article 3

 

The Court noted that according to many international documents on the situation in Afghanistan, Afghans who had become Christians or who were suspected of conversion would be exposed to a risk of persecution by various groups. It could take the form of State persecution and result in the death penalty.

 

The Court found that in its judgment of 21 October 2016 the Federal Administrative Court, the only judicial body to have examined the case, had not looked at the applicant’s practice of his Christian faith since his baptism in Switzerland or how he could, if returned, continue to practise it in Afghanistan. The court had merely presumed that he would have an internal protection alternative by going to live in Kabul with his uncles and cousins, on the basis that his conversion to Christianity was not known to his relatives there.

 

In the Court’s view this argument did not stand up to serious scrutiny of the specific circumstances of the case. The Federal Administrative Court should have carried out its examination by looking at how the applicant practised his Christian faith in Switzerland and could continue to practise it in Afghanistan, for example by referring that assessment back to the first-instance authority or by submitting a list of relevant questions to the applicant; but it had not done so.

 

In the Court’s view, the Federal Administrative Court’s explanation that the applicant’s return to Kabul would not be problematic because he had not spoken of his conversion to Christianity to his relatives in Afghanistan, but that he had only shared his beliefs with those closest to him, implied that the applicant would nevertheless be obliged, in the event of his return, to change his social conduct by confining it to a strictly private level. He would have to live a life of deceit and could be forced to renounce contact with other Christians. The Court further noted that, in a leading judgment published shortly after the judgment in the present case, the Federal Administrative Court had itself conceded that the daily dissimulation and negation of one’s inner beliefs in the context of Afghan society could, in certain cases, be characterised as a form of unbearable mental pressure.

 

Lastly, the Court observed that the applicant belonged to the Hazara community, which continued to face a degree of discrimination in Afghanistan. Even though the applicant had not specifically relied on his ethnic origin in support of his asylum application and this factor was not decisive for the outcome of the case, the Court could not completely overlook this aspect, which had not been referred to at all by the domestic courts. The Court noted that the Federal Administrative Court’s comparison of the situation in Afghanistan to that in central Iraq appeared particularly problematic as it was not substantiated by international reports on the experience of converts to Christianity in Afghanistan.

 

The Court found that the Federal Administrative Court, while accepting that the applicant, of Hazara ethnicity, had undergone a conversion from Islam to Christianity while in Switzerland and that he could therefore be regarded as belonging to a group that was exposed to a risk of ill-treatment if returned to Afghanistan, had not engaged in a sufficiently serious examination of the consequences of the applicant’s conversion. Consequently, there would be a violation of Article 3 if the applicant was returned to Afghanistan.

 

Just satisfaction (Article 41)

 

As the applicant had not claimed just satisfaction, the Court took the view that there was no need to make any award on this basis.

 

The judgment is available only in French.

 

  1. Under Articles 43 and 44 of the Convention, this Chamber judgment is not final. During the three-month period following its delivery, any party may request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court. If such a request is made, a panel of five judges considers whether the case deserves further examination. In that event, the Grand Chamber will hear the case and deliver a final judgment. If the referral request is refused, the Chamber judgment will become final on that day.

Once a judgment becomes final, it is transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for supervision of its execution. Further information about the execution process can be found here: www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/execution


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