The European Court of Human Rights is holding a Grand Chamber hearing today Wednesday 3 December 2014 at 9.15 a.m. in the case of F.G. v. Sweden (application no. 43611/11). The case concerns the refusal of asylum to an Iranian national who alleges that, if expelled to Iran, he would be at a real risk of being persecuted and punished or sentenced to death. The hearing will be broadcast from 2.30 p.m. on the Court’s Internet site (www.echr.coe.int). After the hearing the Court will begin its deliberations, which will be held in private. Its ruling in the case will, however, be made at a later stage.
The applicant, F.G., is an Iranian national who was born in 1962 and is currently in Sweden.
The applicant arrived in Sweden in November 2009 claiming asylum. In his initial request for asylum he submitted that he had been politically active against the Iranian regime. He also mentioned that he had converted to Christianity after coming to Sweden but didn’t wish to rely on it as an asylum ground, either before the Migration Board or, on appeal, before the Migration Court, since he considered it a personal matter.
Having been refused asylum on political grounds, F.G. requested a stay on his deportation order, relying on his conversion to Christianity as a new circumstance to be taken into consideration. His request was refused by the authorities in a decision which was eventually upheld in November 2011, on the ground that his conversion was not a “new circumstance” which could justify a re-examination of the proceedings.
Relying on Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, F.G. complains that if expelled to Iran he would be at a real risk of being persecuted and punished or sentenced to death.
The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 12 July 2011.
In its Chamber judgment of 16 January 2014 the Court held, by four votes to three, that F.G. had failed to substantiate that, if returned to Iran, he would face a real and concrete risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 2 or 3 of the Convention. Consequently, it found that the implementation by Sweden of the expulsion order against the applicant would not give rise to a violation of these provisions. The Court also decided to continue to indicate to the Swedish Government, under Rule 39 (interim measures) of the Rules of Court, not to expel F.G. until the Court’s judgment became final or pending any further order.
On 16 April 2014 the applicant requested that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber under Article 43 (referral to the Grand Chamber) and on 2 June 2014 the panel of the Grand Chamber accepted that request.
Composition of the Court
The case will be heard by a Grand Chamber, composed as follows:
Dean Spielmann (Luxembourg), President,
Josep Casadevall (Andorra),
Guido Raimondi (Italy),
Ineta Ziemele (Latvia),
Isabelle Berro-Lefèvre (Monaco),
Elisabeth Steiner (Austria),
George Nicolaou (Cyprus)
Ledi Bianku (Albania),
Vincent A. de Gaetano (Malta),
Julia Laffranque (Estonia),
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque (Portugal),
Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos (Greece),
Helena Jäderblom (Sweden),
Aleš Pejchal (the Czech Republic),
Krzysztof Wojtyczek (Poland),
Dmitry Dedov (Russia),
Robert Spano (Iceland), judges,
András Sajó (Hungary),
Ján Šikuta (Slovakia),
Päivi Hirvelä (Finland), substitute judges,
and also Johan Callewaert, Deputy Grand Chamber Registrar.
Representatives of the parties
Anders Rönquist, Agent,
Helen Lindquist, Co-agent,
Maria Westman-Clément and Linda Öman Bristow, Advisers
David Loveday, Counsel,
Hanna Pettersson and Angela Evans, Advisers.
Press release ECHR 359 (2014) 03/12/2014