R.Y., E.P. and Others v. Switzerland

Communication № 1073/2021
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Deportation to Belarus has been suspended pending the Committee's decision on the complaint
flag Sweden / flag Belarus / Committee against Torture
Case type: asylum

The complainants in the case are husband (“R.Y.”), wife (“K.P.”) and their children. All of them are nationals of Belarus. The case concerns the rejection of the application for asylum and the deportation of the complainants from Sweden to Belarus.

Circumstances of the case

For several years R.Y., K.P. and their families were persecuted, including being subjected to torture, by the Belarusian law enforcement authorities. The husband and the wife left Belarus for Sweden and became involved in opposition activities. During the mass repressions that unfolded in Belarus after the 2020 presidential elections, members of their opposition association were arrested in conjunction with a politically motivated criminal case.

During the initial procedure, the family handed over to their lawyer in Sweden a large number of the original documents proving the risk of their persecution in Belarus. Despite this, the lawyer neither provided the evidence to the national authorities nor returned it to the complainants. The appeals that he had prepared were very short and did not take into account the details of the Belarusian context. The Swedish authorities therefore rejected the application for asylum and ordered the family to leave the country.

Thereafter the complainants turned to us. We prepared for them an application for reexamination to the Swedish Migra­tion Agency. In the application we provided evidence in the complainants' case and detailed information about the human rights violations in Belarus. The Migration Agency and subsequently the courts refused to re-examine the case. After that we appealed to the Committee against Torture.

Complaint to the Committee against Torture

In the complaint we argued that upon return to Belarus the complainants would face a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment. We also pointed out that the Swedish authorities had failed to adequately  assess the evidence provided in the case and had not verified its authenticity. On this basis we stated that the complainants' deportation would violate article 3 of the Convention against Torture.

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Decision

On 14 May 2021, the Committee indicated to the Government of Switzerland an interim measure requesting it not to deport the complainants to Belarus pending the examination of their case.

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