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Somali man denied refugee status has decision overturned on appeal by High Court

The man, aged in his 30s, has been granted a fresh hearing in front of a different member of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

3131138743_ed801a86e5_o Source: William Murphy

A SOMALI, WHO claimed he was kidnapped, tortured and subjected to forced labour in his home country, has won a legal challenge in the High Court against a decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal not to declare him a refugee.

In a reserved judgement Ms Justice Mary Faherty quashed the decision and transferred the case to the tribunal for a new hearing.

Judge Faherty said the man, who is in his thirties and cannot be identified for legal reasons, claimed to be a member of the Reer Xamar clan in Southern Somalia.

He had claimed that during the Somalian Civil War his family had been persecuted by another clan on grounds of race and ethnicity because of their membership of the Reer Xamar clan. His father and two brothers had been killed, his sister kidnapped and forced into marriage and two other brothers had disappeared.

Judge Faherty said the man alleged he had been attacked, shot and kidnapped several times. A threat had also been made against him by members of an Islamist terrorist group who believed he was a spy for the then-transitional government.

Asylum

He had arrived in Ireland in the late 2000s, where he had unsuccessfully applied for asylum. An appeal regarding that decision had later been rejected and the man had applied to the High Court for a Judicial Review.

Judge Faherty said the man had claimed the tribunal had relied on a flawed language-analysis report prepared by Swedish company Sprakab and had alleged that the qualifications of the analyst were unclear.

The report had concluded the man’s knowledge of the Reer Xamar sounded “rehearsed” and the tribunal had found his general credibility, including his claim of membership to the Reer Xamar clan, could not be assessed.

The man had engaged another language analysis firm, De Taal Studio, based in the Netherlands, which prepared a contra-expertise that found the quality of the Sprakab analysis was poor.

The De Taal report found the man had not been asked about his ethnicity or his dialect during the Sprakab interview and Judge Faherty found that the tribunal member had not analysed the conflicting findings of the two reports.

Failure

“This constitutes to my mind a failure of jurisdiction on the part of the decision-maker. Due process requirement obliged the tribunal member to weigh the De Taal report with all of the other evidence to assess whether the applicant was of Reer Xamar ethnicity,” the judge said.

The judge said the decision of the tribunal had not indicated what weight was given to an assessment of the applicant’s mental state which had found he showed “features” of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The tribunal member’s assessment of the applicant’s account of his history is impugned as a result,” Judge Faherty said.

The judge quashed the tribunal decision rejecting the applicant’s appeal in relation to his asylum claim and remitted the case to the tribunal for a new hearing before a different tribunal member.

Comments are disabled in order to preserve the man’s identity

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Saurya Cherfi

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