Czech Republic - Supreme Administrative Court, 14 August 2008, C.I. v Ministry of Interior, 2 Azs 45/2008-67

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
14-08-2008
Citation:
2 Azs 45/2008-67
Court Name:
Supreme Administrative Court
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Headnote: 

The right to obtain information about the whereabouts of a disappeared family member, as well as publicising the information concerning the disappearance, belong, according to the Czech Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom, to political rights. Therefore, the applicant must be granted asylum if he had been persecuted for exercising this right.

Facts: 

An Angolan national applied for asylum in the Czech Republic. He claimed he was persecuted by the authorities. His brother was politically involved in the FNLA (Frente Nacional para e Libertacao de Angola) and had disappeared. The applicant searched for his brother and requested information from the police regarding his whereabouts. He made many attempts to locate his brother, including publishing his brother’s story, but he was unable to find him. The police visited the applicant at home and at his work. They detained him for a number of days. During the interrogations the applicant experienced beatings and was told that his brother should have kept his mouth shut and that the applicant could follow the same fate as his brother.

The application for international protection was dismissed by the Ministry of Interior (MOI). The MOI claimed that the applicant did not belong to any political party, he did not express his political opinion and he was not politically engaged in any sense. The Regional Court upheld the decision of the MOI and rejected the applicant´s appeal. He filed an appeal to Supreme Administrative Court.

Decision & Reasoning: 

By requesting the police to obtain information on his brother´s whereabouts the applicant was in fact executing one of his political rights. Therefore, he was the object of persecution for political reasons.

It is not necessary, in order to be at risk of persecution for political reasons, to be a member of a political party or openly express political opinion. To be a sympathiser of a political party, express political opinion in any way or to participate in public life in another way, could be sufficient to become a target of persecution for political reasons. This is particularly the case in a country where the sole fact of participation in public demonstrations organised by an opposition party could result in persecution. Therefore, if the applicant originates from a country that imputes on him the political opinion of his brother, and claims that he was persecuted as a family member of a person actively involved in politics, it is sufficient to conclude, in line with Articles 10.2 and 10.1(e) of the Qualification Directive, as well as in line with Art 12(b) of the Asylum Act, that the applicant has a well-founded fear of persecution for political reasons notwithstanding the issue of whether or not the applicant really possessed the political opinion for which he is at risk of persecution.

The Court also stated that in line with the Article 9.1(a) and 9.1(b) of the Qualification Directive, as well as in line with the Article 3 of the ECHR, the beating at the police station, repeated visits at work, apprehension and the search of his home were indeed acts of persecution.

Outcome: 

The appeal was successful and decision of Regional Court cancelled.

Observations/Comments: 

Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court n. 2 Azs 45/2008-67, available at www.nssoud.cz. An unofficial transion (in French) has been made available by the Supreme Administrative Court and is also available on Refworld.

Asylum for practicing political rights is enshrined in the Czech Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. That is also the reason why the SAC defined the term political rights with reference to the Czech Constitution and the Czech Charter, as the Charter includes the right to information in the chapter on political rights. It had to be concluded that the right to information is a political right.

Other sources cited: 

Von Münch, I., Grundgesetz-Kommentar. Band 1, München, in C.H.Beck, 1992, page 925

Case Law Cited: 

CJEU - C-106/89 Marleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA