Satellite dishes case

Concerning Mr. M.B.S vs Denmark for violation of article 7 and 13 of CCPR.

The following case has been decided. It was found on the 29th of March 2019 by the Committee that the facts before it did not permit it to conclude that the applicant’s expulsion to the Islamic Republic of Iran would violate his rights under article 7. See the attached PDF for the full decision or read on to get a description of the case.

The applicant departed from his home country because he was dissatisfied with the general situation in Iran. The applicant and his friends were arrested for selling satellite dishes. During the detention, the applicant was subject to torture and to psychological pressure. After his release, the applicant continued selling satellite dishes. One day, the authorities sought him out but he had just been warned and then he managed to escape and flee to Denmark. After his entry into Denmark, the applicant’s family sent him two notices to appear before the court as well as a conviction of him made in absentia (in his absence), sentencing him to eight years of imprisonment.

Upon his return to Iran, the applicant fears being imprisoned because he had borrowed money for his journey from some of his friends, and because he was unable to repay the money having spent it all on his journey. The applicant had issued three cheques to three different people totalling 150,000,000 Rials (About DKK 74,000). The applicant stated that his friends would go to the police to have a warrant issued for his arrest, should they discover that he stayed outside Iran.

The applicant states that he hated Islam even when he was living in Iran. Everything he heard and practiced was a lie but he found the truth and peace he needed and was in search of in Christianity. The applicant entered Denmark on 17 January 2012 and converted to Christianity on 16 december 2012.

The Refugee Board found that the applicant had made elaborate and inconsistent statements. Thus, On 16 January 2013, the Refugee Appeals Board upheld a decision made by the Danish Immigration Service refusing the application for a residence permit.

By letter of 15 October 2014, the Refugee Council acting on behalf of the applicant, requested that the Danish Refugee Board reopen the applicant’s asylum case. One of the reasons for its request was that new information had come to light regarding applicant’s original ground for asylum. The applicant had a new motif for asylum – the applicant’s conversion to christianity.

On 25 November 2014, the Refugee Board decided not to reopen the case. The Refugee Board found that the applicant’s conversion was not submitted as a ground for asylum until after the Board’s proceedings even though he had converted one month prior to the proceedings. Moreover, according to the applicant’s statement, only his friend and possibly a couple of other people in Denmark know about his conversion. Consequently the Board found that his conversion cannot constitute a ground for asylum.

The applicant however argues that the time of the conversion should not be held against him. The important facts are that he has changed his religion from Islam to Christianity and now considers himself to be a Christian. He has lived an active Christian life for the past two years and the Iranian authorities are most likely aware of his conversion. The applicant also intends to proselytize if he were to return to Iran which creates a real risk that the applicant will engage in religious practices there, which will expose him to a real risk of ill treatment. It should also be noted that the applicant’s family as well as friends and acquaintances have been informed about the conversion of the applicant via Facebook. The applicant has received hate mails on Facebook by acquaintances in Iran on this account. Keeping these facts into consideration, a complaint was sent to CCPR.

30. August 2019

CCPR 2439/2014
  • Decision: 29. March 2019
  • Comm: Human Rights