On the 14th of February 2023, the Committee Against Torture (CAT) ruled in its communication no. 949/2019. The case concerned an Iranian national who faces deportation to Iran after his asylum application was rejected in Sweden. The applicant was allegedly baptised in Armenia and his house church was discovered by Iranian authorities. The church leaders were subsequently arrested and the applicant fled to Sweden where a tumour was discovered. His house in Iran was searched and his family was told that the applicant had to present himself to the intelligence services.
The CAT ruled that the communication was admissible under Article 3 of the Convention as General Comment No. 2 broadens the obligations under Article 3 to both torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The CAT then considered that the complainant did not provide sufficient evidence proving that his removal would expose him to risk of treatment contrary to Article 3. The Committee first noted that the applicant did not submit any evidence demonstrating that he is wanted for his involvement with the house church or for his shut down blogging activities. Second, the Committee highlighted Sweden’s submission declaring that they conducted an extensive asylum investigation which included an oral hearing examining the applicant’s faith. It concluded that Sweden’s assessment was not inconsistent with the UNHCR guidelines, nor arbitrary or amounted to a manifest error or a denial of justice. Third, the Committee noted that the applicant’s medical condition is not of such an exceptional nature as to trigger Sweden’s non-refoulement obligations.