Sunday 26 January 2020

Iraqi family who claimed lives in danger at home lose legal appeal for asylum


Saurya Cherfi

An Iraqi family, who claimed they had left Iraq because the “Mujahideen Brigade” had threatened to kill them, have lost a legal challenge against a decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal not to grant them asylum in Ireland.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott , in refusing to quash the Tribunal’s decision, said in the High Court today the Iraqi couple and their son (22) had failed to establish they were the victims of religious persecution in their home country.

The judge said the family, natives of Baghdad, were Shia Muslims and they claimed that if they returned to Iraq they would be persecuted by Sunni Muslims. The father had been a medic in the Iraqi army.

Before coming to Ireland the Mujahideen had ordered them to leave their neighbourhood or be killed. Their house had been bombed in 2007 and the father’s brother had been killed by unknown terrorists in 2010.

The family had also claimed their lives were in severe danger because another of sons worked as an interpreter with the United States Army.  On one occasion they had been under siege for five days and neighbours had branded them “traitors” for helping the Americans.

The couple’s son, who separately challenged the Tribunal’s decision, claimed he had been mentally and physically bullied at his secondary school in Baghdad and had seen a schoolgirl killed. 

The judge said the family arrived in Ireland in September 2006 after travelling through Turkey and France with the help of a trafficker who had charged them US$15,000. 

Judge McDermott said he was satisfied the family had failed to establish  a “well founded fear of persecution”  in their home country. He accepted  they had medical conditions which must cause them concern,but which did not give them right to refugee status.

The judge, stating that the Refugee Appeals Tribunal had found the parents’ evidence had been contradictory and not credible, refused to quash the Tribunal’s decision or remit it for re-hearing.

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