European court vetoes Swiss refugee deportation

A decision by the Federal Administrative Court in St. Gallen was overruled by European judges Keystone

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has decided that Switzerland is not allowed to deport an asylum seeker from Sudan, overruling a verdict by the Swiss authorities.

This content was published on January 7, 2014 - 15:07 and agencies

The court on Tuesday vetoed the planned expulsion, arguing that there is a risk that the Sudanese asylum seeker would be subject to torture in his home country after becoming politically active in Switzerland.

The judges in Strasbourg argued that the deportation was in breach of the European convention and that not only people holding executive positions in opposition movements are in danger but also all those who are suspected of supporting them.

Switzerland had rejected two asylum requests by the man over the past decade. In August 2012 the Federal Administrative Court ruled that the expulsion of that man did not violate the European Convention.

The Swiss judges said they were doubtful whether the asylum seeker really originated in the crisis region Darfur. They also said that they suspected that the applicant only started to get involved in the rebel movement to be granted asylum as a political refugee in Switzerland. He only became human rights secretary of the Sudan Liberation Movement five years after the rejection of his first asylum request.

The 29-year-old man fled to Switzerland in 2004, where he still lives today. The Swiss authorities have to pay the Sudanese asylum seeker €8,500 (CHF10,000) in compensation for the costs of the proceedings.


Tuesday's announcement is the latest in a series of controversial verdicts by the Strasbourg judges against Switzerland.

Last month, the court criticised the Swiss authorities for a verdict against a Turkish nationalist found guilty of violating anti-racism laws.

Controversial desisions also include separate cases over the deportation of a Nigerian asylum seeker convicted of drugs dealing, the house arrest of an Egyptian businessman, as well as the confiscation of Iraqi funds and Switzerland's regulations on assisted suicide.   

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