FIDH third-party intervention : case of a gay asylum seeker in Finland facing torture in Iran.

FIDH, jointly with FLHR (the Finnish League for Human Rights), AIRE Centre, ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles), ILGA-EUROPE, INTERIGHTS and UKLGIG (UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group), submitted on 18 March 2014 written comments in the A.E v. Finland case, as a third-party before the European Court of Human Rights, concerning an Iranian national who, unsuccessfully, applied for asylum in Finland for risk of torture based on his sexual orientation.

In this case, the applicant had to leave Iran after gay friends were arrested, tortured by the police, to whom they said he was gay. On 29 Novembre 2008, he went to Finland, where he applied for asylum on the same day. On 1 February 2010, the Finnish Immigration Service rejected his application. He was ordered to go back to Iran.

Recalling their written comments in the M.E v. Sweden case, FIDH and the other third-parties argue that the decision of the applicant’s removal to Iran violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights relating to the risk on return.

A person cannot be expelled to a place where he or she will be subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 because he or she is, or would be perceived as gay or lesbian. It must be irrelevant to the Court that the applicant would avoid this treatment by « being discreet » about his sexual orientation. Further, the fact that a country criminalises adult private same-sex sexual conduct should create a presumption that a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 exists, and in any event actual and perceived lesbians and gay men will be offered no state protection. Finally, even if the applicant is voluntarly discreet for only family or societal reasons, then the fact that he or she is required to present publicly elements of a heterosexual narrative to evade harm is in itself contrary to Article 3.

A.E. v. Finland : FIDH third-party internvetion before the ECtHR - March 2014 [EN]
Read more