Saturday 16 December 2017

Asylum seeker refused to train as a 'fetish priestess'

Tim Healy

A WOMAN who says she fled Botswana because she refused to train as a fetish priestess can bring a new legal challenge against a decision to refuse her asylum, the High Court ruled.

The woman (34) is a pygmy and Pentecostal Christian and says it would be contrary to her beliefs to become a fetish priestess who seeks the favour of the god of a fetish shrine by offering compensation in money, liquor, animals, and in some places, human sex slaves.

She claimed she could not return to Botswana because the elders of the village she came from had insisted she become a fetish priestess at the age of 30.

She travelled to the capital of Botswana, Gaborone, to stay with an aunt where there was a confrontation with village elders and family members who insisted she return.

She left the country, going initially to the UK where she was refused entry and sent back to Botswana, but eventually arrived here in January 2009.

Her application for asylum was rejected. It was also rejected by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal and a further appeal to the Justice Minister was also rejected.

The Justice Minister made a deportation order in January 2011 and she challenged the decision in the High Court, which refused her application for judicial review and also refused to grant her a certificate for leave to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court.

Following a European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision in 2011 in a separate case, the woman brought further proceedings arguing that the ECJ decision allowed her to bring a new challenge against the minister's decision to refuse to grant her subsidiary protection.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, in granting her leave to bring a new case, said she was entitled to rely on the decision in the separate ECJ case.

Irish Independent

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