Sweden not to deport an Iranian Christian converted from Islam

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Refugees in Europe

An Iranian Christian migrant, who converted from Islam is now temporarily safe from the scourge of deportation from Sweden, according to EU’s Human Rights court ruling.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled last month, that the Christian migrant should not be deported back to Iran, without analyzing the circumstances he might face due to his conversion from Islam. This Christian migrant had been already arrested three times while in Iran, as he had been charged of creating and publishing web pages that were crucial for the Iranian government. He was summoned to the Revolutionary Court in 2009, after which he fled to Sweden.

Nonetheless, the Swedish Migration Board decided to deport him back to Iran, since no more summons had been issued, and the Iranian authorities had not targeted his family members in Iran. Later, the Christian convert requested a stay on his deportation order, on the basis that since he had converted from Islam. He appealed to the ECHR.

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Initially, a chamber of the ECHR ruled that he was no longer in perilous situation as the Iranian authorities were not aware of his conversion from Islam. However, last month, ECHR’s Grand Chamber unanimously disagreed upon this ruling and ordered to halt his deportation.

“Regardless of the applicant’s conduct, the competent national authorities have an obligation to assess, of their own motion, all the information brought to their attention before taking a decision on his removal to Iran,” the court wrote.

“It follows that there would be a violation of Articles 2 (right to life) and 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the Convention if the applicant were to be returned to Iran without an ex nunc assessment by the Swedish authorities of the consequences of his conversion.”

The international branch of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) assisted the ECHR court in this case and presented to the court an extensive investigation and information of the Iranian convert. ADF senior counsel Paul Coleman said, “Sadly, the anti-conversion laws in Iran pose a direct threat to those who have converted to Christianity, and we must ensure that a convert’s right to life is being upheld by all means.”

“The first ruling of the court ignored the fatal consequences a conversion to Christianity in Iran might have,” stated Robert Clarke, director of European advocacy for ADF International. “It also disregarded former decisions of the court concerning Iranian converts, where judgments were issued in favor of the converts.”