IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT
IMMIGRATION APPEAL TRIBUNAL
(MRS JAJC GLEESON)
London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE DYSON
|EDJRO ARMEL FULGENCE MELEDGE||Claimant/Applicant|
|THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT||Defendant/Respondent|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
The Respondent did not appear and was not represented.
Crown Copyright ©
"We were threatened with death if we revealed to anyone where we had been and what had happened to us."
The adjudicator said she did not believe there were any threats of death. It did not make sense to threaten anybody with death for revealing what was already public knowledge, nor did it make sense for someone to go into hiding in order to avoid going into rallies or marches. The adjudicator also said that she did not believe that, having released the appellant, the police would make routine visits simply to ensure that he was not organising rallies.
"I think it is probably true that the Appellant was arrested and detained. However, that in itself does not establish an entitlement to asylum.
The questions he said he was asked during detention and the fact that he was released without charge on both occasions shows that the government and police had no particular interest in him. In addition, he said his father became a member of the RDR in 1996 and worked for the community as the vice president. Yet he was unable to cite any instances of problems his father had experienced and his father is still in the Cote d'Ivoire."
"Even had I found the Appellant's story to be fully credible, and bearing in mind the lower standard of proof which applies when I assess the risk, which I set out earlier, it appears to me that the Appellant would not face persecution for a Convention reason if he were to be returned to the Cote d'Ivoire."
"Might arguably have led her to a different conclusion."
The tribunal said at paragraph 14 of its determination:
"Having regard to the decision of the Court of Appeal in Oleed, an appellant wishing to rely on changes in the country situation must now show that the Adjudicator's determination is plainly wrong and unsustainable before the country situation can be re-examined as at the date of hearing before the Tribunal."
"The adjudicator was not satisfied that this appellant was a Muslim, particularly given his reference to 'our local priest, Father Arthur' and 'our priest'. That is a really serious flaw in his overall argument, which is based on his being a Muslim. If he is not a Muslim, his claimed membership of the RDR becomes considerably less likely."
At paragraph 17 the Tribunal said:
"Even if we are wrong and the Oleed determination does not bind this Tribunal, the matters set out as risk factors in paragraph 2 of the skeleton argument are not supported by positive findings by the Adjudicator."
The Tribunal expressed their conclusions at paragraph 18:
"For all of the above reasons the Tribunal is not satisfied that it would be right for us to interfere with this Adjudicator's determination. We do not find that that determination is 'plainly wrong and unsustainable' and even if we are wrong about that, given the properly argued credibility findings which we have discussed in this determination, we do not find that the appellant's situation is such that, if he were to be returned to the Ivory Coast today, that action by the United Kingdom authorities would engage either the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 and its protocols or the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950."
"(a) The appellant was the General Secretary of the student section of the RDR;
(b) the appellant's father is a member of the RDR since 1996 and has actively worked in the community on behalf of the RDR;
(c) the authorities have a record of the appellant's past involvement in the RDR and will also have a record of his past arrests and detentions;
(d) the appellant is a Muslim;
(e) the appellant will be regarded as being of Northern origin."
"....those connected with the RDR, whether leading figures or ordinary members, have been singled out for particularly harsh treatment".
But the passage goes on to say that most of those who have been arrested and detained have been released after a couple of days, and it is not suggested that they have been ill-treated during their detention. This consistent both with the evidence given by the appellant of his own experiences before he left the country, and with other passages in the two documents relied on by Miss Hooper. The report also refers to harassment of Muslims (which must mean those who practise, or are thought to practise, the religion). As already mentioned, the adjudicator was not satisfied that he was a Muslim at all. I have carefully considered the various passages to which Miss Hooper has drawn our attention. I am not persuaded that they show that at the time of the appeal a low-level supporter of the RDR was at risk of persecution.