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ME -v- Sweden

Immigration, nationality, asylum, and extradition. Visas etc.

ME -v- Sweden

Postby dls » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:34 am

ME -v- Sweden - ECHR - 26-Jun-2014 - (71398/12 - Legal Summary, Bailii, [2014] ECHR 801) - Human Rights - Immigration
ECHR Article 3
Homosexual required to return to Libya in order to apply for family reunion: no violation
Facts - The applicant, a Libyan national who had been living in Sweden since 2010, applied for asylum there initially on the grounds that he feared persecution because of his involvement in the illegal transportation of weapons. Some months later he raised an additional ground for asylum stating that he was homosexual and had married a man. As to the original ground for his asylum request, he accepted that in view of political changes in Libya, he would probably no longer be in danger there. The Migration Board rejected his request because he had given contradictory statements and his story lacked credibility. It found no obstacle to his returning to Libya to apply for a residence permit in Sweden on account of his family ties and marriage. The Migration Court dismissed his appeal after finding that he was not in need of international protection and that his story was not credible.
Law - Article 3: The applicant complained that he would face a real risk of persecution if returned to Libya on account of his involvement in the illegal transport of weapons and of his sexual orientation and marriage to a man. As to the first limb, the Court concluded that he lacked credibility and had failed to substantiate a serious personal risk of ill-treatment. As regards his sexual orientation, even though the domestic authorities had never questioned the applicant's homosexuality, they found that he lacked credibility since he had altered and escalated his story during the domestic proceedings. In the Court's view, the applicant had failed to give a coherent and credible account on which to base the examination of his claims. Even though there was little information about the situation of homosexuals in Libya, there appeared to be no public record of anyone actually having been prosecuted or convicted for homosexual acts since the end of the Gadhafi regime in 2011. There were thus insufficient elements to conclude that the Libyan authorities actively persecuted homosexuals. Moreover, the applicant was not being permanently expelled from Sweden. Although required to return to Libya in order to apply for family reunion, he could make the application online thereby reducing the waiting time to approximately four months. Even though he would need to be discreet about his private life during the waiting period, that would not require him to conceal or suppress an important part of his identity permanently or for a longer period of time. While it was true that he would have to travel to Egypt, Tunisia or Algeria for interview, since there was no Swedish Embassy in Libya, that could be done in a few days and did not put the applicant at risk of ill-treatment in those countries. In sum, there were no substantial grounds for believing the applicant would be subjected to ill-treatment on account of his sexual orientation if he was returned to Libya in order to apply for family reunion from there.
Conclusion: no violation (six votes to one).
European Convention on Human Rights
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