L.S. v. Switzerland

Communication № 1036/2020
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Deportation to Sri Lanka has been suspended pending the Committee's decision on the complaint
flag Switzerland / flag Sri Lanka / Committee against Torture
Case type: asylum

The complainant in the case is a Sri Lankan national of Tamil origin (“L.S.”). The case concerns the denial of asylum and the deportation of the complainant from Switzerland to Sri Lanka.

Circumstances of the case

Three of the complainant's relatives, members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, went missing during the latter stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. L.S. helped his relatives, the wives of the missing, to write requests for establishing their husbands’ whereabouts. The applicant also participated in the activities of the political party supporting the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. As part of this effort, he collected testimonies of war crimes against Tamils during the civil war. L.S. participated in peaceful assemblies promoting the Tamils’ interests.

The police kidnapped L.S., subjected him to torture and then released him. On the same day, three of his relatives, two wives of the missing and the daughter of one of them, were abducted. Their whereabouts have been unknown since then.

In Sri Lanka criminal charges were brought against the complainant. He was charged with  being involved in terrorist activities.

The Swiss authorities rejected L.S.'s initial application for asylum and ordered him to leave the country. Thereafter the complainant's two lawyers initiated many other asylum procedures in Switzerland. In total, L.S. had been in various asylum procedures for about six years. None of them had been successful. As a result, L.S. has incurred significant financial costs.

After the most recent rejection of his subsequent asylum application, the complainant turned to us.

Complaint to the Committee against Torture

In the complaint we argued that the Swiss authorities had rejected the written evidence in the L.S.’s case without proper verification of its authenticity, and that upon return to Sri Lanka he would face a real risk of torture or other cruel treatment. In such circumstances Switzerland would violate article 3 of the Convention against Torture, if it would  deport the complainant to his country of origin.

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On 2 November 2020, the Committee indicated to the Government of Switzerland an interim measure requesting it not to deport the complainant to Sri Lanka pending the examination of his case.

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