Somali man wins refugee challenge

A Somali who claimed he was kidnapped, tortured and subjected to forced labour in his home country has won a challenge in the High Court against a decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal not to declare him a refugee.

In a reserved judgment, Ms Justice Mary Faherty quashed the decision and transferred the case to the tribunal for a new hearing.

Judge Faherty said the man, who is in his 30s and cannot be identified for legal reasons, claimed to be a member of the Reer Xamar clan in Southern Somalia. He claimed that during the Somalian Civil War, his family were persecuted by another clan on grounds of race and ethnicity. His father and two brothers were killed; his sister kidnapped and forced into marriage; and two other brothers had disappeared.

The man alleged he had been attacked, shot, and kidnapped several times. A threat was also made against him by members of an Islamist terrorist group who believed he was a spy for the then transitional government.

He arrived in Ireland in the late 2000s, and unsuccessfully applied for asylum. An appeal to that decision was later rejected and the man applied to the High Court for a judicial review.

Judge Faherty said the man claimed the tribunal had relied on a flawed language analysis report prepared by Swedish company Sprakab and had alleged that the qualifications of the analyst were unclear.

The man engaged another firm, De Taal Studio, based in the Netherlands, which prepared a contra-expertise that found the quality of the Sprakab analysis was poor.

The judge said the decision of the tribunal had not indicated what weight was given to an assessment of the applicant’s mental state which had found he showed “features” of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The tribunal member’s assessment of the applicant’s account of his history is impugned as a result,” Judge Faherty said, and quashed the tribunal decision, and remitted the case to the tribunal for a new hearing before a different tribunal member.


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