Media coverage on dismissed Iranian asylum seekers case

Concerning S.F.F vs Denmark for violation of articles 6 and or 7 as well as articles 13 and 14 of CCPR.

The following case has been decided. It was found on the 14th of March 2019 by the Committee that the facts before it did not permit it to conclude that the authors expulsion to the Islamic Republic of Iran violated his rights under articles 6 (1) and 7. See attached PDF for the full decision or read on to get a description of the case.

The author is born in Iran but fled his country of origin in 1998. When the asylum case was first raised in the Refugee Board the applicant justified his application on the fact that he was wanted by authorities in connection with a case involving the smuggling of weapons to the Iranian embassy in Damascus. He was rejected asylum by the Immigration Service in November 1998. On January 1999 the Refugee Board also rejected his application for asylum, since it was decided that he would not be in risk of persecution on return to Iran.

He then lived as a rejected asylum seeker in Denmark for several years, because the danish authorities at that time were not able to deport him. Due to his desperate situation he participated in a hunger strike in Christiansborg Palace Square together with other rejected asylum seekers in Denmark, and this created great media attention.The focus of the media had been on the dismissed Iranian asylum seekers, and thus the media coverage had been on the applicant’s case, especially because the applicant is one of the rejected asylum seekers who has stayed in Denmark the longest. The video clip was made public on TV2 news in the fall of 2006. It is argued that the mere fact that the applicant has been shown on a nationwide news broadcast on TV has profiled him to such an extent that there is a high degree of certainty that the applicant is registered by representatives of the Iranian embassy in Denmark or representatives related thereto. According to recent background information, that the Iranian system has become more restrictive and they are more likely to interfere against individuals who are considered to pose a security risk as a consequence of the political change that has been in the country.

Consequently his asylum case was reopened in 2007 due to his new asylum motive. Even though he was in newspapers and television, the Refugee Board nevertheless rejected his claim again stating that “the applicant has not been a member of political parties or organisations or otherwise been politically active”.

After the final decision of the Board in 2007 the author was again told to leave Denmark, but the Danish authorities were not able to deport him. He then converted from being a Muslim to a Christian over a period of time.

He converted officially on 6 June 2013, when he was Baptised. Consequently he now fears persecution because of his Conversion. Counsel then informed the Refugee Board in May 2014 about the new asylum motive and asked the Refugee Board to reopen his asylum case again. This was again rejected and thus a complaint was sent to CCPR.

30. August 2019

CCPR 2494/2014
  • Decision: 14. March 2019
  • Comm: Human Rights