Spain - Supreme Court, 4 June 2010, 2987/2010

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
Court Name:
Supreme Court
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
ICCPR - Art 12
ICCPR - Art 13
Spain - Constitution - Art 13
Spain - Constitution - Art 19
Spain - Constitution - Art 24
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The applicant lodged an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the High National Court to refuse granting refugee status. The refusal was founded on the application of an exclusion clause. It was held that the applicant constituted a danger to Spanish security. This decision examined the conditions required to apply this exclusion clause, namely that it has to be determined that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that such danger exists.


The applicant, from Tunisia, claimed asylum in Spain in 2004. The application was refused by the Ministry of Interior and by the High National Court. Both negative decisions were based on the application of Art 8.2 of the Spanish Asylum Law, 12/2009, which provides for exclusion from refugee status where there are reasonable grounds for regarding the applicant as a danger to national security (connected with Art1F and Art. 33.2 of the 1951 Refugee Convention). The applicant was considered to be a danger to national security due to his alleged membership of an extremist organisation.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The applicant appealed to the Supreme Court claiming that the High National Court had applied an exception to the principle of non-refoulement.

The applicant argued that this unique exception required that the applicant had to be considered as a danger to national security and that “reasonable grounds” must be established. The applicant stated that there were no “reasonable grounds” to prove the danger alleged.

The Court stated that it was not necessary to prove membership of a terrorist organisation by means of conclusive evidence. Thus, the fact that an organisation was or was not recorded as a terrorist organisation was not a relevant factor, what had to be examined was whether the applicant constituted a danger to Spanish security. Moreover, the Court affirmed that there were precedent judicial decisions refusing refugee status to members of the same extremist organisation.

Secondly, the Court held that the danger alleged was sufficiently proven when reports issued by the National Intelligence Centre were taken into account. These reports stated that the applicant had worked for a member of Al-Qaida who was detained in Spain as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks.


The Supreme Court held that the precedent decision was not revoked and that the application of the exclusion clause was maintained.