ECtHR- R.C. v. Sweden, Application no. 41827/07, 9 June 2010

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Country of Applicant: 
Iran
Date of Decision: 
09-06-2010
Citation: 
ECtHR- R.C. v. Sweden, Application no. 41827/07, 9 June 2010
Court Name: 
European Court of Human Rights Third Chamber
Headnote: 

The European Court of Human Rights held that the deportation of an Iranian national to Iran would give rise to a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.

Facts: 

The applicant, an Iranian national, arrived to Sweden in 2003 and applied for asylum. He alleged that he had been detained in Iran because he had criticised the Iranian government and he had participated in a student demonstration. While imprisoned, he had been subjected to torture and still suffered from headaches because of it. His request was rejected both by the Migration Board and on appeal by the Aliens Appeals Board. It was subsequently dismissed by the Migration Court and was refused leave to appeal by the Migration Court of Appeal. On 8 November 2007, following a request by the applicant, the President of the Chamber to which the case had been allocated, indicated to the Swedish Government, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, not to deport the applicant to Iran until further notice.

The applicant claimed that deportation to Iran would subject him to a real risk of being arrested, tortured and perhaps even executed, in violation of his rights under Article 3 of the Convention.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court observed that the applicant’s basic story was consistent throughout the proceedings and that the uncertainties on certain aspects of the story did not undermine the overall credibility of his story [52]. Further, it accepted that the medical evidence of the medical reports’ submitted corroborated with the applicant’s story that he had been a victim of torture [53].  The Court also noted that according to reports from International organisations, people who demonstrate or show their opposition to the regime in any way, risk being detained and ill-treated or tortured. In the Court’s view, the applicant’s claims of being arrested and then tortured for participating in a demonstration against the regime were consistent with the information available from independent sources concerning Iran [54]. Accepting that the applicant had substantiated the claims of detention and torture in Iran, the Court further examined whether the applicant would be subjected to ill-treatment upon return to that country [55].

Taking into account that the applicant left Iran illegally and without valid exit documentation, the Court found, in light of the information available before it, that he would come to the attention of the Iranian authorities and his past would be revealed [56]. With regards to all the above, the Court concluded that there were substantial grounds for believing that the applicant would be exposed to a real risk of being detained and subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 if deported to Iran in the present circumstances [57]. 

Outcome: 

Violation of Article 3 in case of deportation of the applicant to Iran

Observations/Comments: 

Dissenting Opinion of Judge Fura

Judge Fura did not share the majority’s opinion that the applicant’s deportation to Iran would violate Article 3 of the Convention. In his opinion, the onus was on the applicant to substantiate that he would be exposed to ill-treatment if returned to his country, by providing evidence and when this evidence was adduced the Government had to dispel any doubts, failing which there would be a violation. Therefore, he was not convinced that the necessary evidence has been adduced in the present case. In his view, all the evidence adduced should have been taken together and evaluated as a whole. He also differed from the majority’s opinion that the fact that the applicant has been tortured in Iran was enough to substantiate that he runs a real risk of being tortured again if returned. 

Case Law Cited: 

ECtHR- Vilvarajah and Others v. the United Kingdom, Application Nos. 3163/87 13164/87 13165/87 13447/87 13448/87

ECtHR - Matsiukhina and Matsiukhin v. Sweden, Application No. 31260/04

ECtHR - N. v. Finland, Application No. 38885/02

ECtHR - Üner v. the Netherlands [GC], Application No. 46410/99

ECtHR - Collins and Akaziebe v Sweden (Application no. 23944/05)
Other sources cited: 
Authentic Language: 
English
State Party: 
Sweden
National / Other Legislative Provisions: 
Sweden - Utlänningslagen (Aliens Act) (2005:716)
Sweden- Old Aliens Act (Utlänningslagen
Sweden - Utlänningslagen (Aliens Act) (1989:529)