HS (Homosexuals: Minors, Risk on Return) Iran  UKAIT 00120
Date of hearing: 19 May 2005 and 22 July 2005
Date Determination notified: 4 August 2005
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||RESPONDENT|
This case is reported for what we say about the treatment of homosexuals in Iran, including minors, and the assessment of risk on return, in the light of the background evidence that we received; some of which post dates that which formed the basis for the determination in RM and BB (Homosexuals) Iran CG  UKIAT 00117 (8 July 2005), and which determination has guided our deliberations and decision making.
The Law and the Burden and Standard of Proof
"Owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable, or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence is unable, or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it."
Summary of the Case
The Background Evidence
"6.179 According to the Berlin COI Information Seminar Report 2001, although homosexuality is never spoken about and thus a hidden issue, in practice it is not difficult to encounter homosexuals in Iran. There are special parks in Tehran, known as homosexual meeting places. There are also a large number of transvestites walking around in North Tehran. Furthermore, sex changes are permitted in Iran and operations are frequently and openly carried out. [77a] A different sexual orientation may, however, create problems. Still, homosexuality is practised every day, and as long as this happens behind closed doors within your own four walls, and as long as people do not intend to proselytise 'transvestism' or homosexuality, they will most likely remain unharmed. [3c](pg104)
6.180 According to the DIRB, technically, homosexual behaviour is sharply condemned by Islam, and the Islamic code of law Sharia law adopted by Iran. Sodomy is punishable by death if both parties are considered to be adults of sound mind and free will. [2b] It must be proven by either four confessions from the accused, the testimony of four righteous men who witnessed the act [2b][15b] or through the knowledge of a Sharia judge "derived through customary methods". If the accused repents before the witnesses testify, the penalty "will be quashed". [2c](pg15)
6.181 According to the Berlin COI Information Seminar Report 2001,"From a legal point of view it is important to take a look at Iranian law particularly the Islamic Punishment Act, which carries the following provisions for homosexual acts:Art. 110: The prescribed punishment for homosexual relations in case of intercourse is execution and the mode of the execution is at the discretion of the religious judge.Art. 111: Homosexual intercourse leads to execution provided that both the active and passive party are of age, sane and consenting.Art. 112: Where a person of age commits homosexual intercourse with an adolescent, the active party shall be executed and the passive party, if he has not been reluctant, shall receive a flogging of up to 74 lashes.Art. 113: Where an adolescent commits homosexual intercourse with another adolescent, they shall receive a flogging of up to 74 strokes of the whip unless one of them has been reluctant.Art. 114 to 126 establish how to prove homosexual intercourse.Art. 127 to 134 relate to lesbian sexual relations. Punishment for sexual intercourse among lesbians is 100 lashes. If the offence is then repeated 3 times - the punishment is execution". [3c](pg105)
6.182 So far, no cases of execution only on the grounds of homosexual relations have been identified. In fact, the burden of proof is quite high and it would be difficult to prove homosexual liaisons or intercourse. According to some reports in local papers there have been instances of execution of homosexuals. It is not confirmed whether the homosexual act alone led to execution or whether the person was accused on other charges too. [3c](pg105)
6.183 According to a Reuters report of 18 July 2002, last year there were reports that a man accused of sodomising and then murdering his nephew was to be thrown over a cliff in a sack. This was given widespread publicity by the Iranian opposition in the UK and was taken up by other wires, but we have heard no reports that the sentence was ever carried out. [5ba]
6.184 According to the Berlin COI Information Seminar Report 2001,"However, jurisprudence, burden of proof notwithstanding, certainly has used accusations of homosexuality. Furthermore, it does happen that homosexuality is mentioned as one of the accusations amongst other offences held against the defendant. For instance, accusations of homosexuality have been used in unfair trials, such as the case of a Sunni leader in Shiraz in 1996/97, who was clearly prosecuted for politicaly reasons. There have also been other political cases, although not in the recent past". [3c](pg105)
6.185 According to the Ta'azirat of November 1983 (valid to June 1996) sentences of imprisonment for between 1 and 10 years and up to 74 lashes are possible. The death penalty may also be incurred if the act is deemed to be an "Act against God and corruption on earth". Since June 1996 the revised Ta'azirat omits direct threat of lashes or the death penalty. The penalties of lashing and of death are, however, still judicial options, even though they are not mentioned within the revised Ta'azirat. Reports suggest that since 1996 they have rarely been used. [19a](pg18). Reports of use of the death penalty in cases where the only offence is sodomy/execution are extremely difficult to substantiate, and are held to be an unlikely sentence. More usually lashing is the punishment. [2j]
6.186 However, strict though the legal position is, expert opinion consulted by the Canadian IRB in 1998 stated that,"Theoretically, homosexual behaviour is sharply condemned by Islam, but in practice it is present, and has been in the past, for the most part tolerantly treated and frequently occurring in countries where Islam predominates… In practice it is only public transgression of Islamic morals that is condemned and therefore Islamic law stresses the role of eye-witnesses to an offence." [2j]
6.187 The same source stated that the police are not empowered nor do they actively pursue homosexual activity of any kind that is performed behind the "veil of decency" of closed doors. [2j]
6.188 Sources indicate that there are held to be many differing levels of homosexual activity within Iranian society. In rural areas, even "lavat" - sexual activity can be considered socially to be compensatory sexual behaviour for heterosexual sexual intercourse, and the practitioners held not to be homosexuals. [2j] The key offensive practice is sodomy, or more particularly to be sodomised, as an unnatural inversion of God's creation, and some experts hold that "homosexuals" are understood in Iran to be willing passive partners. [2j]
6.189 According to a DIRB Report of 1999, lesbian cases rarely come before the courts, as the case usually fails the test of proof of four righteous witnesses. Sources hold that lesbian behaviour in public is impossible to distinguish from accepted social contact between women in Iran. [2o] The source concludes,"Of female same-sex behaviour musahaqa almost nothing is known. Islamic law considers it sex outside marriage and therefore as adultery, with all the consequences already described. Yet because no penetration takes place, punishment is theoretically limited to one hundred lashes. In practice lesbian behaviour is regarded as relatively unimportant, because it usually takes place discreetly." [2o]
Other DIRB sources expand that lesbianism defined as genital contact between women is punishable by 100 lashes each and by death on the fourth offence. [2c](pg15)."
"Relevant Iranian legal provisions
We set out first of all the relevant provisions of Iranian law on homosexuality. These are contained in Appendix 1 to the report of Ms Enayat (an expert who gave evidence on behalf of B) of 1 June 2004 and are accepted by the Honorary Legal Adviser to the British Embassy in Tehran, who also provided evidence.
Chapter 1 – the definition of Lavat
Article 108: Lavat is an act of congress [vati] between males whether in [the form of] penetration or of tafkhiz [the rubbing of thighs/of the penis against thighs].Article 109: Both the active and passive partners to lavat are subject to the Hadd [punishment].Article 110: The Hadd [punishment] for lavat where penetration has occurred is death and the method of execution is at the discretion of the Shari'a judge.Article 111: Lavat is punishable by death so long as both the active and passive partners are mature, of sound mind, and have acted of free will.Article 112: If a mature man commits an act of lavat with a minor [immature youth] the active partner [ie mature man] will be executed and the passive partner will, unless he has acted under duress, receive up to seventy-four lashes of the whip.Article 113: Whenever an immature person commits an act of congress [vati: ie whether penetrative or in the form of "tafkhiz or other similar acts"] with another immature person [both] will receive up to seventy-four lashes unless one of them has acted under duress.
Chapter 2 – the methods of proving lavat
Article 114: The Hadd [crime] of lavat is proven by confession repeated four times before a Shari'a judge.Article 115: Less than four confessions do not incur the Hadd [punishment] and the person who confesses will be subject to a discretionary punishment [ta'zir].Article 116: Confession is valid where the confessor is mature, of sound mind, in control, has free will and [acts with] intention.Article 117: The Hadd [crime] of lavat is proven by the witness of four just men who have observed the act.Article 118: The Hadd of lavat is not proven by the witness of fewer than four just men and the witnesses will be subject to the Hadd for slander [qazaf].Article 119: The witness of women alone, or in conjunction with men, does not prove the Hadd of lavat.Article 120: The Shari'a judge may rule [issue a verdict] on the basis of the knowledge which he has acquired by normal/generally acceptable methods.Article 121: The Hadd of tafkhiz and similar acts between two men, without penetration, will be punished by one hundred lashes for each [party to the act].Note to Article 121: If the active partner is "non-Muslim" and the passive partner is Muslim, the punishment for the active partner is death.Article 122: If tafkhiz and similar acts are repeated three times, and have each time incurred the Hadd [punishment], on the fourth offence the Hadd [punishment] will be death.Article 123: If two men, unrelated to one another, lie, without necessity, naked under the same cover, they will each be punished by up to ninety-nine lashes of the whip.Article 124: If a person kisses another with lascivious intent, they will be punished by up to sixty lashes of the whip.Article 125: If a person who has committed an act of sodomy [lavat] or the rubbing of thighs [tafkhiz] or similar acts repents before witnesses have delivered their testimony, he will not be subject to the Hadd punishment. If the person repents after the testimonies have been delivered, he will be subject to the Hadd punishment.Article 126: If sodomy [lavat] or the rubbing of thighs [tafkhiz] or similar acts is established by confession, and the person who has confessed subsequently repents, the judge may request the Vali-ye Amr [supreme leader] to exercise clemency.
These are provisions taken from book 2 of the law of Islamic punishment. We have Ms Enayat's commentary on these provisions in the bundle, and we shall turn to this subsequently. "
We consider first the translations of the Iran Court Judgments contained in the Bazgir book. The title of this is translated as follows "The law of Islamic punishment as mirrored in Supreme Court rulings: Hadoud crimes against public virtue (Tehran 1999 to 2000)." These were commented on by the Honorary Legal Adviser and by Ms Enayat as set out above. Ms Enayat, as well as commenting on the translations, set out a table numbering the judgments and summarising the verdicts. We bear in mind the point made by Ms Rogers at paragraph 11 of her summary of evidence that it is important to note that these cases only represent a selection of the cases that will have been heard by the Iranian courts. It is also the case that they are only cases which have been appealed to the Supreme Court, and we accept that it is extremely difficult to assess how many criminal cases in the Iranian court system will have been homosexuality related crimes. We note also, as Ms Rogers points out, firstly that there is no general concept of precedent in Iranian law, which means that a ruling by the Supreme Court in one case will have little or no bearing on subsequent cases on the same issue, and secondly that the outcome of cases returned for hearing by the Supreme Court is unknown. They are also cases concerning only instances where the defendant was originally charged with sodomy, since those are the cases over which the Supreme Court has jurisdiction. It is said in Ms Enayat's report that in the cases where the defendant was originally charged with Tafkhiz, the provincial court of appeal would be the correct appellate authority. We also take from Ms Enayat's report the fact that cases are very likely to be heard in camera, information is unlikely to be published at the time of hearing or conviction, and the suggestion that Iran is responding to international pressure on its use of the death penalty and other human rights violations by suppressing information about its legal system, such that little information is publicly available about current practices. It is clear that a number of these cases were remitted by the Supreme Court. Case number 105, where the death penalty was confirmed, is a case where the charge was murder and Tafkhiz. Case 110 concerned forced sodomy and again the death sentence was confirmed. The same is true of case 112. The sentence in that case however was 74 lashes. The accused who received the lashes was fifteen years old at the time of the crime. There are also examples of acquittals being confirmed. Case 116 involved a sentence of six months in the case of forced sodomy but it was not a case of sex with a minor or a case of rape. In case 117, the sentence was six years where the relationship was with a fifteen year old and was deemed consensual. It is clear that case 110 was proved on the basis of knowledge of the judge. Case 112 appears to have involved a confession. It is unclear what the method of proof was in case 116. Case 117 appears to have involved the knowledge of the judge. Case 125 involved sodomy, and the death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court. This was proved on the basis of the knowledge of the judge, and a sentence of 100 lashes in Case 126 was again on that basis. The same outcome and the same method of proof applied in case 128. Cases 129 and 130 are cases where a sentence of 100 lashes was confirmed by the Supreme Court. Case 133 involved a similar sentence with the method of proof being the knowledge of the judge in this case.
Ms Enayat made the point that the cases cannot be viewed as representing either a comprehensive picture or a statistical sample but are selected to illustrate the variety of situations which, from a legal point of view, might arise in the courts and be problematic as opposed to routine. She also made the point that there are no systematic crime statistics published in Iran for any type of offence, although she noted that in the year 2002 to 2003 slightly over 86,000 offences were classified as "crimes against public virtue" which would clearly include sodomy and Tafkhiz.
Ms Enayat's comments on the reports of the Honorary Legal Adviser take issue first of all with what it is said about the period to which the case histories relate. Ms Enayat made the point that the great majority of cases pertain to the period 1991 to 1995. She noted also that 19 of the 28 Supreme Court cases were cases of "child molestation". There are eight examples in the Bazgir compilation of cases which did not involve "force". She made the point that there are at least three examples in the Bazgir compilation of men charged with sodomy where the complainant was clearly the public prosecutor rather than it being a complaint by an "interested party" as referred to by the Honorary Legal Adviser. She referred to case 1/135 of 1990 in which two men aged 18 and 26 years old respectively were convicted of sodomy and sentenced to execution by the first instance court on the basis of confessions and a medical report. The sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court and remitted on the basis that the medical certificate did not provide decisive evidence of intercourse between them, and in Court the Appellants denied the act despite the confessions. She referred next to case 13/133 of 1992 where a man was charged with committing sodomy with two others. The Supreme Court confirmed the sentence of 100 lashes. The court in the first instance concluded that although there was inadequate evidence of sodomy, non penetrative sex (Tafkhiz) was proven on the basis of the knowledge of the judge. The complainant was the public prosecutor.
Case 14/117 of 1992 was a case where three men were charged with sodomy and acquitted for lack of evidence by the Court of first instance. The complainant was the public prosecutor, who appealed the case on the basis that they had confessed under interrogation and in the presence of an investigating magistrate, and if sodomy could not be proven the evidence was sufficient to prove Tafkhiz. The Supreme Court rejected the appeal.
Case 8, in the Sabri collection, of 1992, was a case where a thirty-six year old man was charged with sodomy and a fifteen year old boy was charged with submission to sodomy. The Court found that the evidence of penetrative sex was inadequate and that the confessions of both parties were flawed but there were adequate grounds to impose a discretionary ta'zir penalty. The thirty-six year old was sentenced to 74 lashes and exile for a period of five years and the boy, who had not at the time of the crime reached the age of maturity (fifteen lunar years) was sentenced to 39 lashes of the whip. The complainant was the public prosecutor.
As regards the Honorary Legal Adviser's comments on declarations of remorse and repentance, Ms Enayat referred to articles 125 and 126 and concluded that even in cases where repentance follows a confession it is not in the power of the judge hearing the case to absolve the individual on the basis of their repentance and the Supreme Court has ruled that judges in the court of issue are expected to evaluate the "quality" of a repentance following confessions. Ms Enayat concluded that the verdict based on the knowledge of the judge has an equivalent status in Shia jurisprudence to guilt established on the basis of witnesses.
With regard to the Honorary Legal Adviser's comment that none of the cases resulted in a conviction for sodomy except one in 1994, she noted that in fact there are two cases on the Bazgir compilation where the Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of sodomy and the death sentence. The first of these is case number 31/112 of December 1994 to January 1995 where an eighteen year old committed homosexual rape on a nine year old boy and was sentenced to death by being thrown from a height. The second case no 27/125 confirmed in July 1993 was that of a prison guard convicted for multiple acts of sodomy with his charges.
As we have seen, of the twenty-eight appeals considered by the Supreme Court, six resulted in outright acquittal in the court of first instance, five of these being confirmed by the Supreme Court and one being remitted for reconsideration, and twelve resulted in a conviction for sodomy and a death sentence on that account in the court of first instance, ten of which were quashed for procedural reasons and remitted to be reheard. Nine cases resulted in a conviction in the Court of first instance for Tafkhiz and in six of these cases the Supreme Court confirmed their sentence but in one case remitted it on the basis of inadequate evidence. We note that there is no information in the sources on the verdicts handed down at the rehearings or the response of the Supreme Court to them.
Ms Enayat also commented that, as we have already noted, in a number of the cases of sodomy not involving rape the complainant was the public prosecutor rather than being the victim or his next of kin. It is the case that where the person was charged with sodomising a minor, the complainant was always the next of kin of the child.
At page 679 of the bundle in the course of this report Ms Enayat also made the point that as a consequence of the status given to private complainants in the Iranian legal system, a large source of insecurity for a practicing homosexual in Iran is that a complaint may be laid against him by a neighbour, servant, a spouse or any other person in his orbit, either out of a sense of moral rectitude or for revenge. She stated that such complaints automatically trigger a Court hearing and, if the judge so decides, the formulation of charges. A crucial distinction is said to be not so much between the private or public status of the original complainant but rather whether or not the case can be dismissed if the private individual or association withdraws the complaint. None of the Hadd crimes and none of the crimes against public virtue under Book 5 of the law of Islamic punishment are included on the list of articles of the law where if a case is brought by a private complainant prosecution will cease on the withdrawal of the complaint.
As regards cases where the prosecution resulted in a sentence of whipping, and the Honorary Legal Adviser's view was that evidence was mainly the acknowledgement of guilt and confession by the perpetrator, but Ms Enayat made the point that in some of the case histories it is unclear what method of proof was used. Where the method is set out, the knowledge of the judge was the method used in ten of the fifteen cases, and confession by itself was the method of proof in two of the fifteen cases and in three cases confession accompanied by reference to a medical certificate was cited. In both confirmed death sentence cases the method of proof was the knowledge of the judge. It is clear that in no case was the "witness of four just men" used as the method of proof. Ms Enayat concludes that the case history supplied abundant indication of the use of the knowledge of the judge in Hadd cases and this evidence conflicts with statement of the Honorary Legal Adviser reported in the British Embassy's letter of 13 June 2004.
Ms Enayat also took issue with the Honorary Legal Adviser's view that the maximum punishment in cases cited in the book is 74 lashes. In six cases the Supreme Court confirmed verdicts of Tafkhiz and 100 lashes. As regards the Honorary Legal Adviser's view that the appeal courts usually overturn the judgments of first instance courts, it was the case in fact that they had only done so in ten of the twenty-eight cases. In six cases the Supreme Court confirmed outright acquittals by the Court of first instance and in one case an acquittal was overturned. The majority of death sentences were overturned and the case remitted. However the Supreme Court confirmed the majority of sentences for the lesser offences of Tafkhiz or an immoral act. Ms Enayat also comments that it is highly unlikely that the executions in two cases of death sentence for sodomy in the Bazgir compilation would have been announced, given the approach of the Iranian authorities in this period.
Ms Enayat set out her conclusions at paragraphs 687 to 689 of the bundle. Among these is her conclusion that the knowledge of the judge is a commonly used method of proof across the various types of case. She also considered it to be clear at least from the examples that certain of the Supreme Court Judges have been pedantic about what can be accepted as evidence of penetration and have frequently rejected the evidence of a medical certificate alone and that the arguments brought are that medical evidence of penetration of the "passive" partner does not by itself establish that the penetration was by the accused or that evidence of penetration did not necessarily involve penetration by the penis. She also makes the point that the medical reports were drawn up before the advent of DNA testing. She also considers it to be evident that the Courts readily accept verdicts of Tafkhiz, generally based either on the knowledge of the judge or confessions which were viewed as imperfect (as proof of penetration) from the point of the Shari'a. There is no published material on cases which began with charges of Tafkhiz or immoral acts since, as noted above, these would not be appealed in the Supreme Court. She concludes that the judgments demonstrate that in general sodomy and Tafkhiz (whether forced or not) are dealt with in evidential frameworks that are far more flexible than that allowed by the picture given in the CIPU and many other accounts and they have drawn a greater variety of punishments.
In his supplementary skeleton argument of 13 February, Mr Kovats accepted on behalf of the Secretary of State that the material now available shows that there are prosecutions and convictions in Iran for offences of Lavat and Tafkhiz, though he suggests that details are sparse and most of the cases are cases of child abuse and or rape. It is also accepted that there are two instances where the death penalty for Lavat was confirmed by the Supreme Court and notes that neither was a simple case of buggery, in one where the victim was a nine year old boy and in the other the defendant was a prison guard convicted on account of buggery of several prisoners which did not give the impression of being a consensual homosexual relationship.
We have derived a good deal of assistance from the translated case summaries and also from Ms Enayat's careful commentary on them. We see no reason to disagree with the comments she makes or the conclusions that she draws from them. We have therefore had the benefit of a significant degree of more specific information than appears to have been available to previous courts. One comment we would make at the outset is to express our agreement with Mr Kovats in stating that an impressive level of care exists in the Iranian legal system with regard to these matters. This can be seen from the number of cases remitted by the Supreme Court for a variety of reasons and in particular, as regards potential capital sentences, the formalities required by the system. In this regard it is relevant to refer to the translation of the e-mail question put to Ayatollah Sanai at pages 512 to 513 of Ms Rogers' bundle. It is clear that the specified manner of proving Hadd, ie four confessions or four just witnesses of the specified conditions: "most often and generally has not been and will not be witnessed after the age/time of the St Imams". The Ayatollah is also of the view that the ways of proving are limited to those two ways and nothing else. The degree of detail and observation required is, as was pointed out in Ms Enayat's report, of such a degree as to make it extremely unlikely that in the absence of confession a capital sentence would be imposed.
We consider that we can properly conclude from the evidence that it is most unlikely, given the statistics and the problems of proof, that the death penalty for sodomy is anything other than an extremely rare occurrence. It is clear however that, and here we are in agreement with paragraph 24 of Ms Rogers summary of the evidence, those guilty of immoral acts under Article 147/115 and Tafkhiz under Article 121 face harsh punishments which can include long prison sentences up to six years and up to one hundred lashes. We remind ourselves of what Mr Kovats accepted on behalf of the Secretary of State that a sentence of lashing would be such as to give rise to a breach of Article 3 rights. Although we agree with Mr Kovats that the interest of the Iranian authorities in homosexual offenders is essentially focused upon any outrage to public decency, it is in our view clear that the authorities would not simply ignore, as Mr Kovats suggested they might in certain situations, reports made to them of persons carrying out homosexual acts albeit in private. If a complaint is brought to the authorities then we are satisfied that they would act upon that to the extent that they would arrest the claimed offenders and question them and thereafter there is a real risk that either on the basis of confessions or knowledge of the judge which might arise from such matters as previous history or medical evidence or the evidence of the person who claimed to have observed the homosexual acts, that they would be subjected to significant prison sentences and/or lashing.
Given that we consider therefore that there is a real risk that a person who comes to the authorities' attention for having committed an act falling within the relevant provisions of the code, it must follow that since this can be presumed to be known by those engaging in such acts, such actions would be likely to be carried out carefully. We have not been addressed on the issue of discretion and whether people engaging in such acts can be expected to act discreetly, which was considered by the Australian High Court recently, in Appellant S395/2002 v Minister for Immigration  HCA 71. That is another argument for another day and we would not wish this determination to be interpreted as imposing a requirement of discretion, but rather a recognition that in the legal context in which homosexuals operate in Iran it can be expected that they would be likely to conduct themselves discreetly for fear of the obvious repercussions that would follow. We also consider, bearing in mind the consequences for persons prosecuted successfully for such actions, that Adjudicators should view with healthy scepticism claims that family members or friends or neighbours reported such actions to the authorities. Given the severity of the consequences we consider that proper caution should be exercised in assessing claims that people came to the attention of the authorities in such ways. This must be particularly so in the case of family members and friends. In our view, it is the case that homosexual acts carried on in private between consenting adults are most unlikely to come to the attention of the authorities and it is the case, and we think it is common ground, that the authorities do not seek out homosexuals but rather may respond to complaints of consensual homosexual activity being carried on. That then is the context in which these appeals must be decided.
Assessment of Credibility and Findings
The Refugee Appeal
Risk on Return
Membership of a Particular Social Group
a. There is no requirement for there to be a voluntary, associational relationship
b. Members need not be homogenous nor does the group have to exhibit any particular degree of internal cohesion
c. A particular social group may include large numbers of persons.
d. The group may not be defined simply on basis of a shared fear of being persecuted. The persecution must exist independently of and not be used to define the social group.
a. Groups defined by an innate or unchangeable characteristic; whatever the common characteristic that defines the group it must be one that the members of the group either cannot change or should not be required to change because it is fundamental to their individual identities or conscience.
b. Groups whose members voluntarily associate for reasons so fundamental to their human dignity that they should not be forced to forsake the association
c. Groups associated by a former voluntary status, unalterable due to historical permanence.
Risk After Entry
Conclusion on the Refugee Aspect of the Appeal
Other Human Rights
Senior Immigration Judge Date: 28 July 2005