against the United Kingdom
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 8 September 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Lech Garlicki, President,
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 13 July 2007,
Having regard to the interim measure indicated to the respondent Government under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court,
Having regard to the decision to grant priority to the above application under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, K, is an Ethiopian national who was born in 1967 and lives in Leeds. He is represented before the Court by Ms E. Miller of the Aire Centre, a lawyer practising in London. The United Kingdom Government (“the Government”) are represented by their Agent, Ms E. Wilmott.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant is a member of the Oromo, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. He served in the Ethiopian navy until 1991 when he joined the Oromo Liberation Front (“the OLF”). He then worked for the OLF for four years as a driver.
In August 1995 he was arrested and assaulted by security forces. He remained in detention until November 1996. He subsequently was arrested, interrogated and tortured on many occasions following incidents of unrest in the country. He was arrested again in September 2002 and after his release he obtained a job with Ethiopian Shipping Lines. He submits that as an ex-member of the Ethiopian navy he was spied upon by special security forces stationed on his ship.
On 30 August 2003, when the ship put into port in the United Kingdom, the applicant jumped ship and claimed asylum. His claim was refused by the Secretary of State for the Home Department on 9 October 2003. The Secretary of State did not find the applicant’s account to be credible and as she was not satisfied that the applicant had been a member of the OLF, she did not accept that he would face persecution on return to Ethiopia.
The applicant’s appeal against that decision was heard and dismissed by an Adjudicator on 27 April 2004. The Adjudicator also found that the applicant’s account lacked credibility. In fact, the Adjudicator was only able to accept that the applicant was a seaman from Ethiopia who had jumped ship in the United Kingdom.
Permission to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal was refused on 30 August 2004.
On 27 September 2005 and 18 May 2006, the applicant’s representative wrote to the Secretary of State making further submissions on the applicant’s behalf, enclosing, inter alia, an affidavit from the headquarters of the OLF in Washington DC which stated that the applicant had been a supporter (cell member) of the OLF. On 20 May 2006 the Secretary of State refused to consider the applicant’s representations as amounting to a fresh asylum claim.
Further representations were made on 25 October 2006 and rejected on the same date. The applicant then applied for judicial review of the decisions of 20 May 2006 and 25 October 2006. Permission to seek judicial review was refused at an oral hearing on 21 March 2007.
On 2 July 2007, the Secretary of State issued the applicant with removal directions to Ethiopia for 16 July 2007 at 9:35 pm.
On 13 July 2007 the applicant lodged an application before this Court and requested an interim measure to prevent his expulsion. On 16 July 2007 the President of the Chamber to which this application was allocated decided to apply Rule 39 of the Rules of Court and indicate to the Government of the United Kingdom that the applicant should not be expelled until further notice.
The applicant complained under Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention that he would be tortured and killed if returned to Ethiopia.
By letter dated 10 July 2008 the Government’s observations were sent to the applicant’s representative, who was requested to submit any observations in reply by 21 August 2008. An extension was subsequently granted and the applicant’s observations were received on 4 November 2008. A copy was sent to the Government by letter dated 19 November 2008.
By letter dated 9 June 2009, the Government advised the Court that it had reviewed the applicant’s case and it proposed to grant the applicant five years’ leave to remain as a refugee. By letter of 16 June 2009, the applicant’s representative informed the Court that in view of the decision to grant him leave to remain as a refugee, the applicant wished to withdraw his application to the Court.
The Court considers that, in these circumstances, the applicant may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue his application, within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the continued examination of the case. In view of the above, it is appropriate to strike the case out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases and discontinue the application of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.
Lawrence Early Lech Garlicki