European Interest

Torture victims have grounds for asylum, rules ECJ

Flickr/Transparency International/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The European Court of Justice ruled on April 24 that tortured asylum seekers can claim subsidiary protection in Europe if adequate medical care would be withheld if they are returned to their home country.

The court’s decision comes in response to a question from Britain’s Supreme Court in connection to a Sri Lankan who said he was once a Tamil Tiger rebel member tortured by Sri Lankan forces.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the ECJ said it was now up the British justice system to decide in the Sri Lankan’s case whether his health would be endangered by a lack of adequate treatment on return.

The Sri Lankan, identified in ECR documents only as “MP,” arrived in Britain in 2005 as a student, but in 2008 he was refused permission to remain.

He submitted an asylum application in 2009, saying that in Sri Lanka he had been tortured by security forces as a member of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

MP’s asylum application was initially rejected. Several appeal hearings brought the case before Britain’s Supreme Court, which in turn asked the ECJ to rule on the scope of the directive in the context of European and international conventions.

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