ECtHR - N.A. v. Switzerland (no. 50364/14) & A.I. v. Switzerland (no. 23378/15) [Articles 2 and 3], 30 May 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

On 30 May 2017, the ECtHR delivered its judgments in two cases against Switzerland regarding Sudanese applicants who claimed that a return to Sudan would put them at risk of treatment contrary to Articles 2 and 3 ECHR due to their relations with the opposition group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Both applicants had been refused asylum in Switzerland and were furnished with removal decisions, later suspended on account of Rule 39 interim measures being issued by the ECtHR.

In both cases, the Court understood that the surveillance by Sudanese secret services of political opposition in exile cannot be considered as being systematic. Therefore, to evaluate the risk of persecution upon return to Sudan faced by political opponents, the Court must take into account: previous interest in and persecution from Sudanese authorities; participation in an opposition group and the nature of this group, both in Sudan and abroad; the nature and level of this participation; the political engagement abroad and one’s participation in public events and online activities; personal and family connections with eminent members of the opposition group.

In the case of A.I., the ECtHR ruled that his return to Sudan would expose him to a high risk of treatment contrary to Articles 2 and 3 ECHR by Sudanese authorities due to, inter alia, the intensification of his activities with the JEM while in Switzerland, the credibility of his account on the persecution suffered while in Sudan and his relations with prominent members of the JEM. On the contrary, in the case of N.A., the ECtHR found no risk of a violation of Articles 2 and 3 ECHR upon his return to Sudan based, inter alia, on his limited participation in the activities of the organisation, the fact that he did not occupy a position of public exposure, that he was not active online nor had his name cited in the organisation’s activities.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

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Credibility assessment
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Political Opinion