Committee against Torture
Decision adopted by the Committee under article 22 of the Convention, concerning communication No. 607/2014 * , **
Submitted by:R.K. (represented by counsel, Niels Erik Hansen)
Alleged victim:The complainant
Date of complaint :30 May 2014 (initial submission)
Date of present decision:12 August 2016
Subject matter:Deportation to the Islamic Republic of Iran
Substantive issues: Risk of torture
Procedural issues: Insufficient substantiation of complaint
Article s of the Convention : 3
1.1The complainant is R.K., an Iranian national born in 1947 and subject to a deportation order from Denmark to the Islamic Republic of Iran. He claims that his deportation would constitute a violation by Denmark of his rights under article 3 of the Convention. The complainant is represented by counsel.
1.2On 2 June 2014, the Committee, acting through its Rapporteur on new complaints and interim measures, decided to issue a request for interim measures under rule 114 (1) of the Committee’s rules of procedure and requested the State party not to deport the complainant to the Islamic Republic of Iran while the complaint was being considered by the Committee.
1.3On 18 March 2015, the Committee decided to deny the State party’s request to lift interim measures.
2.1The complainant is an ethnic Persian and a Shia Muslim from Teheran. He claims to have been detained and tortured by the Iranian police in the 1980s for having assisted persons with a travel ban, including non-Muslims and political opponents, in obtaining passports. As a result, he fled the country and applied for asylum in Greece, where he obtained refugee status in 1991. He was then resettled in Denmark as a quota refugee and obtained a Danish residence permit under the Danish Aliens Act. He entered Denmark in June 1992 with a valid residence permit. The complainant claims that he became addicted to drugs around this time, due to the after effects of torture.
2.2On 25 March 1995, the complainant was issued a permanent residence permit. On 4 December 2004, he left Denmark to return to the Islamic Republic of Iran with his mother, who, after several years of having resided in Denmark, was ill and wanted to return there. She died in the Islamic Republic of Iran in December 2009. The complainant stayed in the Islamic Republic of Iran and, during the “green revolution” in 2009-2010, was arrested, allegedly for having participated in post-electoral demonstrations against President Ahmadinejad.
2.3On 17 September 2010, the Danish immigration service decided that the complainant’s residence permit had lapsed. This decision was upheld by the refugee appeals board on 27 April 2011.
2.4On 8 August 2010, the complainant returned to Denmark, where his family was still residing. However, on 27 April 2011, he was informed by the Danish authorities that his residence permit had been withdrawn because it had lapsed. On 28 April 2011, the complainant applied for asylum in Denmark. He claimed that he had been arrested in the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2009 for having participated in a demonstration and had been released the same day without having given his real name. He noted that, at another demonstration, the police had marked with a pen all demonstrators in order to track them and arrest them later. The authorities had put his name on a list and he had had to bribe somebody to have his name deleted from the list and be issued a passport. His application was rejected by the Danish immigration service on 6 December 2011.
2.5On 6 September 2012, the refugee appeals board rejected the complainant’s request for a new residence permit. The board considered that the complainant’s statements relating to his arrest during a demonstration in 2009 had been implausible and inconsistent. It noted that the complainant had stated before the Danish police that he had been detained and tortured for two months, whereas before the Danish immigration service and the board he had stated that he had never been imprisoned or tortured during his stay in the Islamic Republic of Iran but just arrested for a few hours. The board further noted that the complainant had stayed in the Islamic Republic of Iran for several years without experiencing any problems with the authorities, other than this incident in 2009, and that he was issued a passport and was able to enter and leave the country legally. The complainant’s abuse of methadone or the general human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran could not lead to a different conclusion. The board concluded that the facts of the case provided no basis for carrying out an examination for signs of torture.
2.6On 30 May 2014, the refugee appeals board rejected the complainant’s request to reopen the asylum proceedings, as no new information had been provided.
2.7The complainant notes that, since decisions by the refugee appeals board are final and cannot be submitted to judicial review, he has exhausted all domestic remedies.
3.1The complainant claims that his rights under article 3 (1) of the Convention would be violated by the State party in the event of his deportation to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The complainant fears that, if he were to be deported, he could be subjected to torture again. He further notes that, as a torture victim, he is in need for protection and rehabilitation, which he would not be able to obtain in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
3.2The complainant argues that Danish authorities have not disputed the fact that he was subjected to torture in the Islamic Republic of Iran in the past. Nevertheless, the refugee appeals board rejected the possibility of submitting the complainant to a torture examination without justifying that decision, which amounts to a violation of article 3 (2) of the Convention.
State party’s observations on admissibility and merits
4.1On 2 December 2014, the State party noted that the complainant had not provided substantial grounds to support the risk of being subjected to torture in case of his return to the Islamic Republic of Iran and that the communication was therefore ill-founded. It added that the complainant was attempting to use the Committee as an appellate body and have the factual circumstances advocated in support of his asylum claim reviewed. The decision by the refugee appeals board had been adopted after a comprehensive and through examination of the evidence of the case and a procedure during which the complainant had been able to present his views with the assistance of a counsel. The complainant’s communication before the Committee does not contain any new information.
4.2On the merits, the State party argued that the refugee appeals board had relied on the complainant’s contradictory statements and the lack of a satisfactory explanation for them to find that the complainant lacked credibility. Neither the alleged torture experienced by the complainant over 25 years ago nor the general human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran could lead to a different assessment of the matter.
4.3With regard to the author’s complaint regarding the refugee appeals board’s failure to conduct a medical examination to identify signs of torture, the State party submitted that such examination was not required in the present case given the complainant’s clear lack of credibility on a number of fundamental issues, as concluded by the board. The State party added that the board does not undertake such examinations where it has been unable to find any grounds for asylum as a proven fact or where, even if past torture as is considered proven or possible, the board concludes that a current risk of torture is inexistent.
Complainant’s comments on the State party’s observations
5.On 7 February 2015, the complainant noted that his past torture in the Islamic Republic of Iran had been confirmed by a medical examination carried out in Greece in 1991 and that it was on that basis that Denmark had granted him and his family refugee status. He noted that he had never argued before Danish authorities that he had been tortured when he was detained in 2009, but he feared that, if detained again, Iranian authorities would evoke the circumstances that had led to his detention in the 1980s, would subject him to torture and would bar him from receiving rehabilitation in the form of medical treatment. He argued that the need for a medical examination by the board was not to prove that he was a torture survivor but to determine that he needed rehabilitation treatment. When considering whether his residence permit had lapsed, the board should have taken into consideration his need for such treatment.
Issues and proceedings before the Committee
6.1Before considering any claim submitted in a communication, the Committee against Torture must decide whether or not it is admissible under article 22 of the Convention. The Committee has ascertained, as it is required to do under article 22 (5) (a) of the Convention, that the same matter has not been, and is not being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement.
6.2The Committee recalls that, in accordance with article 22 (5) (b) of the Convention, it shall not consider any communication from an individual unless it has ascertained that the individual has exhausted all available domestic remedies. The Committee notes that the State party has not contested that all available domestic remedies have been exhausted in the present case and concludes that it is not precluded from examining the communication by the requirements of article 22 (5) (b) of the Convention.
6.3The Committee takes note of the State party’s argument that the complaint is insufficiently substantiated and therefore inadmissible. The Committee notes the complainant’s argument that article 3 of the Convention would be violated if he were to be deported to the Islamic Republic of Iran based on his past torture suffered in the 1980s and on the inability to obtain medical treatment required as a torture victim. The Committee notes, however, that the complainant has not provided the Committee with any information relating to the events occurred in the 1980s and how those events would still put him at a personal risk of torture in the Islamic Republic of Iran today. The Committee further notes that the complainant lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran for several years and that his short detention in 2009 was not of such nature as to suggest that, in case of return, he would be at risk of treatment contrary to article 3 of the Convention. As to the complainant’s argument relating to the refugee appeals board’s failure to undertake a medical examination to determine the need for him to follow a rehabilitation treatment for the torture he would have experienced in the 1980s, the Committee considers that this argument is of no relevance for the purpose of determining whether he would be at risk of being subjected to torture, at present, upon return to the Islamic Republic of Iran, in particular since he has not specified the required medical treatment related to the after-effects of torture that he was allegedly receiving in Denmark and would be unable to obtain in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in light of the fact that he voluntarily left Denmark and has presumably been without any such treatment since 2004.
6.4The Committee concludes, in accordance with article 22 of the Convention and rule 107 (b) of its rules of procedure, that the complaint is manifestly unfounded.
7.The Committee against Torture therefore decides:
(a)That the communication is inadmissible under article 22 of the Convention;
(b)That the present decision shall be transmitted to the State party and to the complainant.