Categories
All Countries Iran

2020 RLLR 145

Citation: 2020 RLLR 145
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 27, 2020
Panel: Isis Van Loon
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Amir Derakhshanfar
Country: Iran
RPD Number: VC0-00019
Associated RPD Number(s): VC0-00031, VC0-00034, VC0-00035
ATIP Number: A-2021-00945
ATIP Pages: 000178-000183

DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in this case, and I am ready to render my decision orally.

[2]       These are the reasons for the decision in the claim of [XXX], the principle claimant, [XXX], the associate claimant, and their two adult female children, claimants [XXX] and [XXX] who are all claiming to be citizens of Iran and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to s. 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       These claims were joined according to rule 55 of the Refugee Protection Division Rules.

Allegations

[4]       The claimants’ allegations are set out in their basis of claim forms and in their testimonies. The following is a brief summary:

[5]       The principle claimant and both of her adult daughters are Christian converts, and they fear persecution due to their conversion from Islam. The associate claimant does not identify as Christian but believes that people should be able to choose their own religion freely. Furthermore, he acknowledges a belief in God, but is not a follower of Islam as it is required in Iran.

Determination

[6]       I find that the claimants are convention refugees as they have established a well-founded fear of persecution based on convention grounds. Namely religion in the case of the principal claimant and the two adult children claimants and political opinion in the case of the associate claimant.

Analysis

Identity

[7]       I find the claimants’ identities as nationals of Iran is established by their testimonies and the supporting documentation filed including certified true copies of their passports in Exhibit 1.

Credibility

[8]       When a claimant swears to the truth of certain allegations, this creates a presumption that those allegations are true unless there is a reason to doubt their truthfulness. However, this presumption does not apply to inferences or speculation for which there is no evidentiary basis.

[9]       The claimants testified in a straightforward and detailed manner and with no inconsistencies in their testimonies or contradictions between their testimonies and the other evidence before me that were not explained.

[10]     The female claimants all described in detail their beliefs and contrasted that with the religion into which they were born in Iran. The principle claimant said, “If we say that we are God’s children in any other religion, meaning our previous religions, if I were to say this, that I am a child of God, they would punish me.  They would never allow me to continue with my life.  Now, I am certain that God, the father, supports me.” Her daughters echoed the support that they feel from their new religion, particularly while their mother was facing a serious health challenge.

[11]     The associate claimant described how he found out about his family’s conversion, and he expressed his tolerance for other religious views. He credibly described how he wished he had known about this conversion sooner and clearly supported his family members’ rights to make their own decisions about religion. As for himself, he explained that he had not converted, although he had learned a fair bit about Christianity from his family, and he remains open-minded.

[12]     I have found all of their explanations and descriptions to be compelling and clear. Furthermore, they provided the following relevant probative documents: There is a letter on page 17 of Exhibit 4 from [XXX] (ph) from [XXX] in [XXX] in the Calgary Assembly of [XXX] and [XXX] Church. The principle claimant has been attending since [XXX] 2018. Her daughters joined afterwards.

[13]     The Pastor said that the principle claimant, “gave a beautiful testimony during a Sunday church service in regard to how she became a believer in Jesus Christ and accepted him as her personal saviour” and studied for baptism on [XXX] of 2019. Then she joined the Bible study group according to the Pastor. The Pastor said that the daughters were baptized on [XXX] of 2020 and that they too gave public testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ.

[14]     I find these documents are relevant and served to corroborate the core allegations of the three female claimants that they are Christian converts. The narrative and testimony of the claimants corresponds to the ample objective evidence about conditions in Iran pertaining to converts from Islam as well as those who oppose the government-imposed religion.

[15]     Apparently I have no reason to doubt the central elements underpinning the claim for protection nor the claimant’s stated subjective fear. I found all four claimants to be credible witnesses and therefore have accepted as true the facts that they have alleged in support of their claim.

Nexus

[16]     I find the persecution the principle claimant and her adult daughters face has a nexus to one of the five convention grounds, that of religion. And I find that the associate claimant has established a nexus to political opinion and therefore this claim will be assessed under s. 96.

[17]     I acknowledge that the principle claimant and the two adult children as women also have a nexus to membership in a particular social group as women in Iran and that the associate claimant could also be considered for membership in a particular social group as a family member of claimants facing persecution on a convention ground.

[18]     However, I have found the respective nexuses to religion and political opinion are sufficient for me to decide this claim for asylum, and therefore, I have analyzed the claims solely on these grounds.

Well-Founded Fear

[19]     In order to be considered a convention refugee, a claimant must describe that they have a well-founded fear of persecution which includes both a subjective and an objective basis.

[20]     Based on the claimant’s testimonies and supporting documents as well as the country condition documents, I find that all four claimants have a well-founded fear of persecution for the following reasons:

[21]     The principle claimant started attending church in Canada around [XXX] of 2018 with her Canadian relatives who were Christians, but she did not convert at the time.  She returned briefly to Iran in [XXX] of 2019 to have her visa extended and then came back to Canada to stay with her daughters. She became more involved with Christianity through her family members and by attending church and decided to convert. However, she feared telling her husband who was still in Iran, the associated claimant, over the phone as this was risky.

[22]     Her daughters, as well, became increasingly interested in Christianity after seeing the positive changes in their mother that her Christianity had brought to her. After the associate claimant came to Canada in [XXX] 2019 having been threatened, he was able to confirm his family’s conversion to Christianity, and all four of them claimed asylum while their visitors and student visas respectively were still valid. Their actions in addition to the amply country condition documents below have established their subjective fear of persecution in Iran.

[23]     The country documentation is consistent with the claimant’s testimonies and fearing persecution in Iran due to the conversion of three of the claimants to Christianity and due to the forth claimant’s opposition to this persecution and beliefs that religious freedom is important.

Religion

[24]     The law prohibits Muslim citizens from changing or renouncing their religious beliefs. Under Iranian law, a Muslim who leaves his or her faith or converts to another religion can be charged with apostasy, and this is a crime punishable by death.

[25]     Amnesty International stated in June 2019, “Freedom of religion and belief continues to be systematically violated.  The authorities impose on people of all faith as well as atheists codes of conduct rooted in a strict interpretation of Shia Islam. The right to change or renounce religious beliefs continues to be violated with those converting from Islam being at risk of arbitrary detention, torture, and even the death penalty.”

[26]     The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade assesses that those accused of religiously based charges are also likely to face charges related to national security, and they are unlikely to have adequate legal defence and are likely to be convicted.

[27]     While Shia jurors generally hold only that male apostates are to be killed, females on the other hand may only be imprisoned. The US Department of State says that prison conditions were harsh and life-threatening due to food shortages, gross over-crowding, physical abuse, and inadequate sanitary conditions and medical care.

[28]     I am satisfied that regardless of whether a convert faces the death penalty or prison, the conditions and treatment are such that both amount to persecution. Based on all the evidence before me, I find the principle claimant and her two adult daughter claimants would face a serious possibility of persecution from the state due to the conversion from Islam to Christianity if they were to return to Iran.

Political Opinion

[29]     The associate claimant is in fact opposing the government’s religious requirements in his support for his family members who have converted to Christianity. He described being threatened and questioned about his family members’ religion in the months before he came to Canada. At that time, he was not even aware that they had converted as they had feared telling him over the phone that the authorities would discover this.

[30]     The associate claimant disagrees with the state position on religious freedom in Iran. He said that, “The Iranian regime needs to change based on the views in the constitution they” unlike himself, “do not accept any other religion or belief.” He said, “There needs to be an environment that allows people to choose their religion freely, to have their own beliefs, and be respected for it.”

[31]     The Islamic Republic of Iran is an authoritarian theocratic republic and imposes severe restrictions on many freedoms including religious freedom. The government’s human rights record remained extremely poor and worsened, and there were numerous reports of arbitrary killings and forced disappearances as well as torture by government agents, corruptions widespread at all levels of the government, and impunity is pervasive through all levels of government and security forces according to NDP 2.1 and 1.7.

[32]     I have noted that the associate claimant has expressed an opinion and is against the government of Iran by his support for religious freedom. Based on all the evidence before me, I find that he, too, would face a serious possibility of persecution based on this political opinion if he were to return to Iran.

[34]     I also note that he has vowed to stay with his family and were he to do so and they are still Christian converts, he would suffer persecution as well for that reason.

State Protection and Internal Flight Alternative

[35]     In this case, the agent of persecution is the state. The persecution the claimants would face if returned to Iran is at the hands of the authorities, and accordingly, I find there is no state protection available to the claimants, and the presumption of state protection is rebutted.

[36]     The state of Iran is in control of all of its territories, and therefore, again on the evidence before me, I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Iran. There is no viable internal flight alternative for these claimants in their particular circumstances.

Conclusion

[37]     Based on the totality of the evidence, I conclude that the claimants are convention refugees, and accordingly, I am accepting all of their claims.

[38]     Okay, so that is the end of my decision. Interpreter, if you would like to go ahead and give a summary. That would be very welcome.

[39]     INTERPRETER: Sure thing.

———————REASONS CONCLUDED———————

Categories
All Countries Iran

2020 RLLR 137

Citation: 2020 RLLR 137
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: October 8, 2020
Panel: Michael Somers
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Zohra Safi
Country: Iran
RPD Number: TB9-28317
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-00945
ATIP Pages: 000134-000137

DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: The Panel has considered the claimant’s testimony and other evidence in this case and is ready to render its decision orally.

[2]       The claimant is a citizen of Iran. He has made a refugee protection claim under Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Allegations

[3]       The specifics of the claim are stated in the claimant’s narrative and amended narrative, of course, the narrative is found in his Basis of Claim form (BOC). He alleges the following:

[4]       He is a citizen of Iran. He has recently been divorced. He is a well-educated individual. He has an [XXX] in [XXX] as well as a [XXX] an [XXX] in [XXX]. He has worked in Iran as a [XXX] for at least, maybe, eight years. However, I don’t think he would disagree by saying that he is more of a [XXX] than anything else.

[5]       He fears to return to Iran. He fears the Iranian government; that he has been targeted, persecuted, by the Iranian authorities due to his affiliation to [XXX] and, also due to his religious affiliation, that he is Dervish Sufi.

[6]       He is, what I would describe as, an accomplished [XXX] who has gone through, what I would say, a formal background, a formal teaching, in [XXX]. He didn’t go to university for that. He has won, what sounds like, local and regional, maybe even national, [XXX]. He has entertained abroad. His group – he has produced at least [XXX].

[7]       In about 2010 he, how he would describe it, officially became Dervish. Although, he was interested in learning and participating in the Dervish community years before that. And, in his particular fact situation, that he has been incarcerated, charged with what I would call fabricated allegations and was sentenced to at least one year in jail. Once released from jail he realized, or even probably before that, that the Iranian authorities would continue to harass, target him, based on his religious affiliation and, also his political affiliation.

[8]       He left Iran on or about [XXX] 2019, and made a claim for refugee protection on or about [XXX] 2019. He left his former wife in Iran with the intention of his former wife coming to Canada and reuniting with him. However, due to pressure from his in-laws, pressure on his wife, and just not the pressure on his wife but the wife, his former wife, herself, due to his activities, due to his religion, due to incarceration, there was a divorce recently.

Determination

[9]       The Board finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee pursuant to Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The reasons are as follows.

ANALYSIS

[10]     The Board is concerned with the issues of credibility and state protection.

Identity and Credibility

[11]     The Board was satisfied with the claimant’s personal identity based on his testimony and a certified copy of his passport and other secondary identification documents that were filed on his behalf.

[12]     The Board found the claimant to be a credible and reliable witness. There was no significant differences between his testimony and his narrative and the numerous personal documents filed on his behalf.

[13]     One could describe this claim as a claim that has two premises or two, basically, fears/reasons why he is leaving Iran and coming to Canada to seek international asylum, refugee protection. One, being a [XXX] which that his [XXX] doesn’t fit within the context of Iranian society and the rigid perception and attitude of the Iranian authorities towards [XXX] and, well, [XXX]. Second, is that he is Dervish, he’s Sufi. In fact, in his testimony, which again the Board found credible, he sort of put the two together as well, that they mesh, that being Sufi, being Dervish, and the meditation process, the calmness, the peacefulness, erased blocks and made him a better [XXX]. And he indicated that his [XXX] was not for the regime, it was not for anyone but himself and his spiritual beliefs and his worship to humanity and that includes God. And because of these two purposes, these two reasons, he is being pursued, harassed, by the authorities.

[14]     The Board found that he is indeed a [XXX], this is based on his testimony, on the numerous documents, on his activities in Canada, on the documents on the websites that show him as a [XXX]. He is a [XXX], that’s a fact. Regarding his religion, is he Sufi? Is he Dervish? The answer is yes. On the evidentiary standard that this Board has to use, on a balance of probability, he is. I found his testimony when he was talking about, very briefly about, the Dervish principles, the religion, the environment, the culture, I found it to be, for him to be, articulate and not vague in his testimony and there was a truthfulness in his testimony, in his convictions, when he was talking which was certainly, was not made up. So, on a balance of probability, he is Dervish.

[15]     One then looks at the country condition articles and reports that have been filed, both by counsel and the Refugee Protection Division. Well, and one should note particularly for the Refugee Protection Division’s articles, many of those articles are from well respected international human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and then there’s reports from agencies, state departments, from well-respected Western democracies such as this very country, Canada, Finland, United Kingdom, United States and they all state the same. And what is that? That there is – that the Dervish community, in fact, one should say all minority religious communities in Iran, are persecuted, are targeted, are looked in a very restrictive way.

[16]     Also, these articles and reports state, again clearly, that musicians are targeted. That, for some reason, the Iranian authorities see musicians as dangerous. Particularly, that they are perceived, that their music touches upon politics, more so freedom of association, freedom of expression; many things that this regime sees as threatening to them. So, the country condition articles, this Board finds that the country condition articles, his testimony, the personal documents filed, finds that if the claimant did return that he would have a well-­founded fear of persecution.

[17]     I don’t think there’s any need to get into the specifics of the persecutions or the lack of state protection in Iran that is directed towards religious minorities and, in particular, the Dervish community. It’s in many articles. Same with discrimination, harassment that amounts to persecution directed towards musicians. Simply put, what the claimant was testifying to, what his allegations and his claims were stating, is supported by what’s in the country condition articles and reports. The, at best, could be described as a Kangaroo Court that the claimant stood in for a short period of time; it must have been horrific. But again, the country condition articles and reports state exactly that, that that happens. And again, I found the testimony of this particular claimant to be credible.

[18]     So, there’s a – the claimant has met the presumption that there is no adequate state protection within Iran with clear and convincing evidence, particularly given that the agent of persecution is the state.

[19]     Regarding the issue of internal flight alternatives, well there is none. Why? Because, again, the state is the agent of persecution.

CONCLUSION

[20]     Based on this brief analysis, the Board finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee and accepts his claim. This hearing is over.

Categories
All Countries Iran

2020 RLLR 113

Citation: 2020 RLLR 113
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: September 16, 2020
Panel: Liyusew Kidane
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Bahman Azimi
Country: Iran
RPD Number: TB9-31677
Associated RPD Number(s): TB9-31742
ATIP Number: A-2021-00945
ATIP Pages: 000188-000191

DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: This is a decision for [XXX], file number TB9-31677, and [XXX] file number TB9-31742. I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in this case and I am ready to render my decision orally.

[2]       The principal claimant, [XXX], and the minor claimant, [XXX], claims to be citizens of Iran and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97 sub – Subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       INTERPRETER: Sorry, can you keep the sentences short please so I can? I got this one but still.

[4]       MEMBER: I – I was wondering, is it possible for you to translate simultaneously so that I can read the decision for the record and the claimant will also receive the decision in writing. Do you know how?

[5]       INTERPRETER: It’s going to be a little hard. No. I can’t do that.

[6]       MEMBER: Okay, umm. Okay, I’ll read it in parts then.

[7]       INTERPRETER: Thank you, sir.

[8]       MEMBER: The principal claimant, [XXX], and the minor claimant, [XXX], claims to be citizens of Iran and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and Subsection 97(1) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The principal claimant was appointed as the designated representative of the minor claimant. In considering this matter, I have considered Chairperson’s Guideline on women refugee claimants and child refugee claimants.

[9]       INTERPRETER: I didn’t get that, sorry. Can you please speak a little louder?

[10]     MEMBER: Okay, umm. Counsel, this decision will be sent in writing. Would you ⁠– is it possible for you to translate to them when in your office when you receive it? Or, they…

[11]     COUNSEL: Yes. Is it the (inaudible)? As long—I mean at the end of the day I think they want to know whether the decision is positive, I think today.

[12]     MEMBER: It is positive.

[13]     COUNSEL: It’s positive?

[14]     MEMBER: Yes.

[15]     COUNSEL: Okay.

[16]     MEMBER: Okay.

[17]     CLAIMANT: Thank you. Thank you.

[18]     COUNSEL: . Okay, so I will read it to them in (inaudible) because of the mask and all these little logistics, it’s difficult to hear you (inaudible).

[19]     MEMBER: Yes. I appreciate that. I appreciate that, counsel.

[20]     CLAIMANT: Thank you so much.

[21]     MEMBER: Determination.

[22]     CLAIMANT: Thank you.

[23]     MEMBER:

Determination

[24]     I find you are both refugee Conventions for – Convention refugees for the following reasons:

[25]     I find that the claimants have established a serious possibility of persecution on the grounds of their membership to a particular social group, namely women facing gender-based violence due to their position to discrimination of women in Iran. Particularly, Iran’s dressing code. In light of this finding, the Panel has not assessed whether the claimants were victims of domestic abuse in Iran.

[26]     The allegations of the claims are found in the Basis of Claim form. In summary, the principal claimant allege that she fears harm in Iran at the hands of her husband. And you alleged you are your husb ⁠– you ⁠– you allege that your husband was abusive, and you fear this abuse will continue if you were to return to Iran. The minor claimant also fears abuse at the hands of her father.

[27]     The principal claimant testified that the claimants do oppose the Iran ⁠– Iran’s laws that compel women to wear hijab.

Identity

[28]     Your identities as citizens of Iran have been established on a balance of probabilities through your testimony and the certified true copy of your passport found in Exhibit 1.

Credibility

[29]     Overall, I found you, the principal claimant, to be a credible witness on a balance of probabilities. Your testimony was straightforward and spontaneous. There was no material inconsistency in your testimony. Also, I note that you did not embellish your testimony.

[30]     You have testified that women in Iran do not generally have a place. That means they don’t have equal status or treatment in society. It is defined woman has no right to divorce and are forced to marry. You testified that your marriage was arranged through your family and you really didn’t have a choice to refuse. You were pressured into marrying your husband. You also testified that the minor claimant was harassed and bullied in school due to her preference to cut her hair short, wear boy’s jacket and t-shirts. You testified that women are not given value, their freedom of speech is limited, and they don’t have freedom of choice.

[31]     In contrast, you testified that you and the minor claimant have no ⁠– have not been wearing hijabs since you came to Canada. You testified that you are more comfortable without hijab. I note that the claimants appear before the Panel without hijab. Therefore, I find that on balance of probabilities the claimants oppose the Iran’s dressing code that restricts women’s freedom of choice. I therefore find that you are credible and I acc ⁠– I accept your allegations as credible in that you have established your – your and the minor claimant’s subjective fear.

Objective Basis

[32]     I find that your subjective fear has an objective basis based on the objective evidence before me. In the National Documentation Package for Iran, which is attached to Exhibit 3, Item 2.1 indicates that the law provides that a woman who appears in public without appropriate attire, such as the cloth scarf veil over head and a long jacket, or a large full-length cloth covering legs cloth covering, may be sentenced to flogging and fined.

[33]     Item 5.4, in the NDP, states that there’s no legal definition of what constitutes appropriate hijab. Generally, girls as young as seven years old are required to wear proper hijab. This document further states the policing of women bodies is not confined to the State. Iran veiling laws have enabled thugs and vigilantes who feel they have the duty and the right to enforce Islamic Republic values to harass and assault women in public. As a result, on a daily basis, women and girls face random encounters with strangers who beat and pepper-­spray them, call them whores and make them pull their headscarves down to completely cover their hair.

[34]     The Panel therefore finds an objective and subjective basis to the claimants’ fear regarding the compulsory hijab on the balance of probability.

State Protection

[35]     State protection would not be reasonably forthcoming as authorities themselves are the agents of persecution.

Internal Flight Alternative

[36]     Given that the State is the agent of persecution, there is no internal flight alternative in the claimants’ circumstances.

CONCLUSION

[37]     Based on a totality of evidence, I find the claimants are Convention refugees. I therefore accept their claims.

[38]     Thank you and good luck.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Iran

2020 RLLR 109

Citation: 2020 RLLR 109
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 15, 2020
Panel: Daniel Mckeown
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Nasser Hashemi
Country: Iran
RPD Number: TB9-20704
Associated RPD Number(s): TB9-20750
ATIP Number: A-2021-00945
ATIP Pages: 000173-000175

DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: I’ve considered the testimony and other evidence in this claim and I am now prepared to render a decision. The claimants are [XXX] and [XXX], they seek refugee protection against Iran pursuant to Sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. For the following reasons the Panel finds that the claimants are Convention refugees and this claim is accepted.

[2]       For ease of reference, where this decision makes reference to the claimant, that means the male claimant although these reasons apply equally to both claimants.

[3]       This claim was based on the following allegations. The claimant became interested in Christianity when he visited an uncle in Romania. The claimant and his wife came to Canada in [XXX] 2018 for the claimant’s education. In [XXX] 2019 the claimant’s wife returned to Iran with their new born son. When she returned she encountered problems with authorities at the Iranian airport because her son was wearing a Christian cross. The son’s Canadian passport was confiscated and the claimant’s wife struggled for 4 months to have it returned. The claimant’s wife returned to Canada on [XXX] 2019. They immediately made their refugee claims, signing their Basis of Claims on [XXX] 2019.

[4]       The identities of the claimants were established on the basis of their Iranian passports. The originals of which were ceased by the Minister.

[5]       The Panel had two concerns about the credibility of this claim. First was that the claimant delayed seeking protection in Canada until [XXX] 2019, despite being here in Canada as a Christian convert since [XXX] 2018. Second the Panel was also concerned that the claimant’s wife returned to Iran with a Christian cross on her son, knowing that it could have caused problems. Regarding the delay to seek protection, the claimant explained that his wife was pregnant at the time they arrived and turning his mind to making a refugee claim was difficult with his wife’s pregnancy. Regarding the return to Iran, the claimants explained how the cross was covered under their son’s clothing and they simply did not think this would cause problems for them.

[6]       While the Panel does have concerns, the Panel finds these explanations do somewhat mitigate the Panel’s concerns. The Panel does not find that these concerns ultimately undermine the credibility of this claim in its entirety or the presumption that the claimants have been truthful. In all of the respects the Panel did find that this claim is credible. The claimant spoke about his religious conversion to Christianity, he spoke about why he became interested in it, about why he continued to develop his faith and about how the faith has impacted his life. He spoke about the church he attended here in Canada, and the steps he has been taking to become baptized. The Panel found this evidence and testimony was compelling.

[7]       Other than noted above, there were no inconsistencies in the evidence. The claimant was straight-forward, spontaneous, and elaborated with significant detail upon the allegations. Where the Panel did have concerns, they were either reasonably explained, or otherwise did not outweigh the evidence supporting this claim. The Panel has access to the National Documentation Package for Iran, incredible sources such as the US DOS report and UK Home Office reports for example. These sources make clear that apostacy in Iran is illegal and punishable by death even though the female claimant herself may not be Christian, these are the country conditions evidence. The Panel was also satisfied that the female claimant herself would potentially face significant risk given her husband’s conversion, and given the difficulties she has already encountered in Iran.

[8]       Given that the Panel finds the claimant’s conversion is genuine, the claimants fit the profile of persons at high risk of persecution.

[9]       Whereas the State is the agent of persecution, the claimants have rebutted the presumption that state protection would not be adequate and forthcoming. Excuse me. The claimants have rebutted the presumption that state protection would be adequate and forthcoming. Likewise, there is no location in Iran the claimants could go where they would not face a serious possibility of persecution.

[10]     For all these reasons, the Panel finds that this claim is credible. The claimants fear is well-founded. The claimants face a serious possibility of persecution in Iran on a count of religion. The claimants are Convention refugees and this claim is accepted.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Iran

2020 RLLR 85

Citation: 2020 RLLR 85
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 11, 2020
Panel: Lesley Stalker
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Rasik Shah
Country: Iran
RPD Number: VB9-04273
Associated RPD Number(s): VB9-04292, VB9-04293
ATIP Number: A-2021-00800
ATIP Pages: 000164-000170

DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division in the claims of [XXX], the principal claimant and her children [XXX], associated claimant and [XXX] the minor claimant. The claimants are citizens of Iran who are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Section 96 and Subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[2]       In rendering these reasons, I considered and applied Chairperson’s Guideline 4 on Female Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Based Persecution and Chairperson’s Guideline 3 on Child Refugee Claimants Procedural and Evidentiary Issues. At the outset of the hearing, I maintained the designation of the principal claimant as the designated representative for her minor daughter, [XXX] Her son [XXX] turned [XXX] years old in [XXX] 2019 and so does not require a designated representative.

Allegations

[3]       The principal claimant fears gender-based persecution on the basis of her objection to strict gender-based roles for women in Iran. She is a painter and a poet who has used her art to decry what she has described as the tyranny of the Islamic regime against women. She says she endured two loveless arranged marriages which left her both broke and broken.

[4]       She also fears persecution on the basis of her religious beliefs and her imputed political opinion. The associated claimant [XXX] fears persecution due to his religious beliefs and his political beliefs. He says he believes in God but does not follow a particular religion. He rejects the mandatory Islamic, the mandatory imposition of Islamic beliefs on Iranian citizens.  And fears persecution due to his repudiation of a theocratic government in favor of a secular model.

[5]       The minor claimant [XXX] fears persecution on the basis of her gender. She objects to the strictures imposed on women in Iran, including the mandatory dress code. She also rejects the mandatory imposition of Islamic values on Iranian citizens. And says that she does not adhere to a particular religion.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[6]       I’m backing up here.

Determination

[7]       The Panel finds that the three claimants have established a serious risk of persecution in Iran based on their religious beliefs and in the case of the two female claimants, on the basis of their gender.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[8]       The claimants’ identities are confirmed by the testimony of the principal claimant and by their passports, certified true copies of which are on file.

Credibility

[9]       In refugee determine case, determination cases there is a presumption that claimants and their allegations are truthful. I found the three claimants to be credible witnesses.   They each endeavored to answer questions accurately and to elaborate on their answers when asked to do so. There were no material inconsistencies or contradution-, contradictions within or between their respective testimonies.  The principal claimant submitted a number of documents which corroborate her allegations. These includes a subpoena issued in [XXX] 2018 requiring her to attend a preliminary inquiry into whether she insulted the san-, sanctity of Islam.  This is found in Exhibit 4 at page 21.

[10]     She also submitted photocopies of her paintings and translations of her poetry which are collectively a heart-rending lament against the oppression of wislam-, oppression of women by the theocratic regime. In one poem she writes, I was a beautiful blossom., they shed all my pet-, petals before I bloom, not giving me a chance to see the spring. Another poem refers to the “beastly religious rules, those demons”.  And another says “religion is the lie of frauds.”

[11]     The principal claimant also filed a card attesting to her father’s membership in the Rastakhiz, R-A-S-T-A­K-H-I-Z Party and a death certificate which confirms her father’s death in [XXX] 1983. In her BOC, she said that her father was effectively assassinated because of his political beliefs.

[12]     The objective country evidence in the Immigration and Refugee Board’s National Documentation Package substantiate the claimant’s allegations concerning the lack of freedom of religious belief and the treatment of women. Based on the presumption of truthfulness and the corroborative evidence, I accept the allegations as set out in the princi-, principal claimant’s BOC and updated narrative as credible.

Well-Founded Fear of Persecution

[13]     I find that the principal claimant has established a well-founded fear of persecution based on her status as a woman and on her rejection of Islamic strictures on the people of Iran.

Profile of the Principal Claimant

[14]     The principal claimant’s profile is as follows. She says that her extended family has long opposed the regime. Her father was pursued by clerics in the early days of the revolution and eventually killed in a staged car accident. Her mother who is fearful for the safety of her outspoken and headstrong daughter, arranged for the principal claimant to marry an older man who worked for the regime when she, the principal claimant, was only [XXX] years old. When she was married, she was expelled by the school. After some incidents of abuse, the [XXX] bride fled her home and marriage. Her husband subsequently divorced her and she was allowed to complete high school.

[15]     Following the breakdown of this marriage, the principal claimant’s brother chaperoned her closely. She felt she was living in a prison of his creation. When she was [XXX], she married a 30-year-old man to escape the prison fashioned by her brother. The principal claimant and her husband have two children who are the associated claimants in this hearing. That marriage broke down when the principal claimant was in her early [XXX] and she again found herself marginalized as a divorced woman.

[16]     She began to teach art out of her home.  The classes became a center for discussion about various social issues. She wanted to take these ideas beyond her home, so registered at a university. However, her outspoken views created ongoing problems at the university and she had to drop out after three terms. She opened an art school but the ongoing pressure by Sepah, S-E-P-A-H and the Basij, B-A-S-I-J forced her to cut the male instructors from her school. She had to repeatedly write promissory letters to comply with the Iranian regime’s requirements.  And eventually, had to close the school altogether. She continued to pour her hopes, her anger and her pain into her poetry and her art.

[17]     In [XXX] 2018, she visited her sister in Canada. She was astounded to see a country in which women are treated with respect.  She returned to Iran only because her children were still there. Upon her return to Iran, the authorities continued their surveillance of her activities. On [XXX] 2018, they forced her over in her car.  When the officers started to humiliate and disrep-, disrespect her, she erupted in rage against Islam and its laws. She was arrested and released the following day upon posting a bond.

[18]     On [XXX] 2018 she received a subpoena ordering her to attend an inquiry on [XXX] the [XXX], 2018. A cousin informed her that she was not yet on a no-exit list, so she and her children flew to Turkey on [XXX] the [XXX] 2018. The claimants were only allowed to stay in Turkey for three months. The principal claimant reluctant-, reluctantly agreed to pay [XXX] to an agent so that she could get visas for her children to get to Canada.

[19]     The principal claimant returned to Iran in [XXX] 2018 to finalize her affairs and grant power of attorney to her brother. She did not return to her home and took precautions to remain undetected. Nonetheless, despite these precautions, she received a call saying that she was being followed and that she faced being killed. On [XXX] she learned that a second subpoena had been delivered to her home and she immediately returned to Turkey. The three claimants flew to Canada on [XXX], 2018.

[20]     The associated claimant, [XXX] who is [XXX] years old, testified about his religious and political beliefs. As noted above, he says he does not adhere to any religion. And refuses to participate in the religious rituals and practices which are demanded in many parts of Iranian life. He noted that he now faces the mandatory military service in Iran as a soldier. If he refuses to pray or to fast during Ramadan he faces flogging and other punishments including the extension of his military service. His mother testified that [XXX] is rebellious by nature. And she fears that his free-spirited actions will quickly bring him to the attention of the authorities.

[21]     The minor claimant, [XXX] is [XXX] years of age. She testified about her objection to the strictures imposed on women in Iran in the name of Islam, in the name of Islam.  Including the mandatory wearing of the hijab. The principal claimant testified that [XXX] hated having to wear the hijab in Iran. She recalled that when [XXX] was approximately [XXX] or [XXX] years old, the principal claimant picked her up from school by car on a hot day. Once in the car, [XXX] pulled her headscarf off. The religious police saw this and detained the principal claimant and [XXX] for a day. [XXX] was incensed by this and remains so to this day. [XXX] testified that she is not a practicing Muslim and that she does not believe in any religion.

Nexus

[22]     I find that the fears of the principal claimant and [XXX] are refle-, are connected to the refugee Convention grounds of religion, membership in a particular social group, namely gender.  And actual or imputed political beliefs. The fears of the associated claimant [XXX] are connected to the Convention ground of religion and political belief. I therefore assess their claims under Section 96 of the Act.

Subjective Basis

[23]     The principal claimant has described her fears of persecution persuasively and in detail. Her decision to return to Iran in [XXX] 2018 raises a question about whether she may have reavailed herself of the protection of her country. I find that her description about the precautions she took to remain undetected and her immediate flight back to Turkey when the second subpoena arrived have satisfied me that she had a sub-, has a subjective fear of persecution in Iran. And that her short-term return to the country in [XXX] 2018 does not undercut that subjective fear.

[24]     The associated claimant and minor claimant also established a subjective fear of persecution throughout their eloquent and pervasive testimony.

Objective Evidence

[25]     The objective evidence supports the fears of the three claimants. Reports in the National Documentation Package confirm that the Iranian State authorities continue to impose harsh restrictions on the rights of women. To arrest wome-, women rights activists, prohibit dissemination of information the government deems damaging and that the government maintains control on art and censors art production that is deemed to promote secularism or non-Islamic ideas about women’s rights and behaviors. And for this I, I’m referring to the information in the U.S. Department of State report found at Tab 2.1 of the NDP. Iran is a theocracy where ultimate power rests with the supreme leader and unelected institutions under his control.

[26]     The gender policies among the ideological pillars of the Islamic Republic and therefore, patriarchy is enforced by the State itself.

[27]     Legislation in Iran is based on Sharia law which generally regus-, reduce a woman as having only half the value of a man. The 2017 Global Gender Gap ranks Iran at 140 out of 144 countries. And for this, I refer to the report at Tab 5.1 at the NDP. Amnesty International states that violence against women and girls including domestic violence and early enforced marriage are widespread and committed with impunity as gender-based violence is not criminalized.

[28]     According to the Finnish Immigration Service sexual harassment is widespread and violence against women is commonplace in Iran. More than 50% of women have suffered psychological abuse. And more than 1 in 3 had suffered acts of physical abuse. Almost 1 in 3 of the surveyed women reported having experienced restrictions included, including limitations on contacts with friends and family. And limitations on their ability to pursue employment, education or participation in public affairs. The report also states that women feel compel-, compelled to tolerate violence inflicted not only by their husbands, but also by other family members for fear of shame, being ostracized or divorced. And because there are a lack of alternatives to the abusive environments. And for that, I refer to Tab 5.3 of the NDP.

[29]     Restrictions on women govern all aspects of their lives. Women cannot ride bicycles, enter stadiums, travel alone or choose their clothes. Female athletes have traditionally been barred from competing in international tournaments. All women, irrespective of religion, are required to cover their hair, skin above the wrist or ankle and below the neck and the contours of their body in public. And this last proposition is found in the Response to Information Request at Tab 5.4.

[30]     The law provides that a woman who appears in public without appropriate attire such as, such as a hijab over the head or a long jacket, manteau, M-A-N-T-E-A-U or a full-length cloth covering, chador, may be sentenced to flogging and fined.  And this is the U.S. Department of State report at Tab 2.1. These laws are enforced with vigor. Approximately 730,000 women a year are arrested for failing to comply with the billing requirement.  And this is Tab 5.1 of the NDP.  However, there’s no consensus on what constitutes a proper hijab which leaves women vulnerable to the interpretation or whims of the enforcing officer.

[31]     According to the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation, cultural figures including musicians are targeted by the regime, regardless of whether they live in Iran as their work is deemed to be immoral.   And this is found in NDP Item 2.6. Solo female artists are prohibited from performing in front of audiences. And musicians are constan-, consistently banned, imprisoned and harassed by authorities.

[32]     And I find on a balance of probabilities that the restrictions or harassment that are imposed on musicians are likely to be equally applied to other forms of art, including painting or poetry, such as the work that the principal claimant has done. The country reports also indicate that the Iranian authorities demands strict adherence to Sharia laws and criminalize dissent.

[33]     The U.S. Department of International Religious Freedom report states that Iran’s constitution defines the country as an Islamic Republic and all laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria. Conversion from Islam to another faith is punishable by death. An IRB Response to Information Request on the treatment of atheists in Iran found at Tab 12.14 of the NDP quotes sources as saying that atheism is not recognized in Iran. And under Iran’s Sharia law any Muslim who abandons his or her faith may face the death penalty for apostasy.

[34]     With the respect to the ability to freely express one’s opinion, the USDOS report at Tab 2.1 states that the law provides for the prosecution of persons accused of instigating crimes against the State or national security or insulting Islam. The government severely restricted freedom  of speech and of the press and use the law to intimidate or prosecute persons who directly criticize the government or raised  human rights problems. As well as to bring ordinary citizens into compliance with the government’s moral code. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom 2018 annual report found at Tab 12.2 indicates that the government of Iran discriminates against its citizens on the basis of religion or belief. As all laws and regulations are based on the unique Ja’fari Shia Islamic criteria.

[35]     Under Iran’s Penal Code, mohareh-, moharebeh vaguely defined and often used for political purposes and Sabul-Nabi, S-A-B-U-L – N-A-B-I, insulting the prophet, are capital crimes. The same document notes that the Iranian government exercises strict control over expression  of religious ideas and dissent online as part of its broader censorship and targeted use of technology.

[36]     Upon reviewing the credib-, the claimants’ credible testimony and the country reports on Iran, I find that they have collectively and individually established  that they face a serious risk of persecution in Iran on the basis of their religious beliefs. And in the case of the two female claimants, on the basis of their gender. Given my finding that the claimants face a risk of persecution because of their religious beliefs, I’ve not assessed the risk they may face on the basis of their political opinions.

State Protection

[37]     Given that the State is the agent of harm, I find there’s no state protection available to them. Furthermore, given the State’s capacity and censorship laws and their laws against apostasy and blasphemy which extend throughout the country, I find they face a serious possibility of persecution throughout the country.

[38]     It is therefore, not possible for them to relocate to another location in Iran. There is no in-, viable internal flight alternative available to them.

CONCLUSION

[39]     For the foregoing reasons, I find that the claimants have established that they are Convention refugees pursuant to Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. I therefore accept your claims.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Iran

2020 RLLR 78

Citation: 2020 RLLR 78
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 14, 2020
Panel: Deborah Coyne
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Mohsen Masoori
Country: Iran
RPD Number: TB9-05347
Associated RPD Number(s): TB9-05418, TB9-05439
ATIP Number: A-2021-00800
ATIP Pages: 000124-000127

DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: This is the decision in the claim for refugee protection of [XXX] principal claimant, [XXX] associate claimant and [XXX] the minor claimant, who claim to be citizens of Iran and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The allegations are fully set out in the Basis of Claim form, principal claimant alleges a fear of persecution at the hands of the Iranian government because of his political opinion and anti-regime activities. The associate claimant and minor claimant also have a fear of persecution because of their imputed political opinion and association with the principal claimant, they have also been directly threatened by Iranian authorities.

DETERMINATION

[2]       The Panel finds that the principal claimant has established a serious possibility of persecution because of his political opinion and his anti-regime activity and that therefore he is a Convention refugee pursuant to Section 96 of IRPA. The associate claimant and minor claimant also face a serious possibility of persecution on a-, because of their imputed political opinion and they have been threatened Iranian authorities as well. So, they are also Convention refugees pursuant to Section 96 of IRPA.

IDENTITY

[3]       On a balance of probabilities, the claimants’ established that they are citizens of Iran based on certified true copies of their passports.

CREDIBILITY

[4]       On a balance of probabilities, the Panel finds the following facts to be true or following allegations to be true. The principal claimant worked in a [XXX] or [XXX] that had been taken over to be run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. Worker’s wages were not paid over an extended period of time and the principal claimant joined in protests, without any income he managed with family resources and support during this period.

[5]       Specifically, on [XXX] 2017, he joined a large gathering on Labour Day, the principal claimant was detained and released after signing something said he would not protest again. In [XXX] 2017, however he did join a nationwide protest against inflation, unemployment, injustice and so forth. There were undercover police hitting protestors with batons, principal claimant was hit but he evaded detention at that time.

[6]       In [XXX] 2018, the principal claimant and his wife went to Turkey to get fingerprinted at the Canadian Embassy in order to get a temporary resident visa to go and visit the principal claimant’s brother here in Canada. At that time, he had no intention yet of leaving permanently. Upon their return from Turkey they were contacted by their town’s local intelligence services, so town of [XXX]. And they were taken into interrogation from 9 AM to 9 PM, when they were asked about why they went to Turkey and basically accused of being in Turkey to assist opposition to the Iranian regime.  They did not say anything about getting their TRV’s, if they had they might have had exit interdiction slapped on them.

[7]       When they were released, they were told that they would be contacted by the intelligent services of Ramadan which is the capital city. Both were very concerned. On [XXX] 2018 the claimant was taken into custody, he was mistreated and tortured. Panel finds his testimony very compelling and authentic. He was told that his wife and child were hurt, fortunately this was not true and he was released on [XXX] 2018. Panel notes that the associate panel-, associate claimant’s testimony in this, in this regard was also very compelling about trying to figure out where he was in the period, during his period in detention and so forth. At that point, the family decided they had to leave Canada and use the TRV’s and came here in [XXX] 2018. The claimants claimed refugee protection about four months later, once they had satisfied themselves that there was no hope of being safe if they returned.

[8]       The Panel accepts on a balance of probabilities that the principal and associate claimants have provided credible evidence to support their subjective fear of persecution by Iranian authorities and of detention and a risk to their lives as a result of the principal’s claimant’s political activities should they return to Iran. Overall, the Panels finds the claimants’ evidence was consistent, plausible, and not contradicted by documentary evidence on country conditions in Iran. The allegations were supported by personal documents that were credible, there were no contradictions or omissions that go to the core of the claim. The Panel, therefore, accepts the evidence as establishing the claimants’ subjective fear of persecution because of political opinion or imputed political opinion.

[9]       On just a few words on an objective basis. The objective basis for the claim and documentary evidence, the Panel finds that the claimants’ subjective fear is based on the document-, objective documentary evidence before the panel and is therefore well-founded. So, just looking for example at the US Department of State report for 2018, which is in the National Documentation Package for Iran. It notes that the Iranian regime engages in politically motiva-, motivated violence and repression to suppress dissenting political opinions, subjecting people to arbitrary arrest and detention, as well as unfair judicial processes.

[10]     The government’s human rights record remains extremely poor and worsened in several key areas, it goes on to give some examples. I also note that Pa-, that counsel submitted some articles that are specifically focused on persons that were detained after protesting labour protests in Iran around the same time that the claimant was on the streets as well. Panel finds on a balance of probabilities that the objective country documentary evidence supports the claimants’ allegations. And the claimants have a well-founded fear of detention and risk to their lives and torture in Iran by reason of political opinion and anti-regime activities.

STATE PROTECTION

[11]     As the agent of persecution is the government of Iran, in this case, the Panel finds it would be objectively unreasonable for the claimants the seek the protection of the Iranian State. Panel finds the claimants have rebutted the presumption of state protection with clear and convincing evidence.

INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE

[12]     The Panel finds that the objective country evidence establishes the authorities operate similarly throughout Iran and the claimants face a serious possibility of persecution throughout Iran because of their political opinion, or imputed political opinion. Therefore, a viable internal flight alternatives are not available to the claimants.

CONCLUSION

[13]     Based on the foregoing analysis, the Panel concludes that the claimants are Convention refugees and their claims are accepted.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Iran

2020 RLLR 67

Citation: 2020 RLLR 67
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 21, 2020
Panel: Jeffrey Brian Gullickson
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Joseph W. Allen
Country: Iran
RPD Number: MB9-14763
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-00800
ATIP Pages: 000055-000057

REASONS FOR DECISION

INTRODUCTION

[1]       [XXX] is claiming refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Her passport proves her identity and that she is a citizen of Iran.

[2]       In rendering my reasons, I have considered and applied the Chairperson’s Guidelines on Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution.

ALLEGATIONS

[3]       The claimant’s religious view is “non believer” and does not follow Islam and refused to [XXX] it to her [XXX] as she was required by the [XXX] where she worked in Iran.

[4]       During her travels to Canada, she had posted photos of her where she did not wear a hijab or chador required for women in Iran. For this, persons at her [XXX] threatened to denounce her to Iranian authorities where she would be suspected of non-Islamic behaviour and for being a non­believer and disproportionately punished.

DETERMINATION

[5]       The claimant is a Convention refugee. She established a serious possibility of persecution for religion and imputed political opinion.

ANALYSIS

Credibility

[6]       She was credible regarding key elements of her claim.

[7]       There were numerous credibility concerns. They were not determinative.

[8]       The National Documentation Package (NDP) for Iran, dated 29 March 2019, Iran refers to severe corporal or other punishment for apostasy, un-Islamic behavior or behavior not consistent with state-prescribed morals consistent with Shia religious practice or behaviour (NDP, tabs 9.8 and 11.1). The NDP mentions that political dissidents are accused by state authorities of serious capital crimes either against Islam or against national security and subject lengthy arbitrary detention and mistreatment in detention (NDP, tab 1.14, p. 10; tab 2.1, pp. 4 and 16).

[9]       Given the above, I conclude that the claimant would face a serious possibility of persecution for religion in Iran for her non-Islamic view.

State protection

[10]     I find that there is clear and convincing evidence before me that the state is unable or unwilling to provide you with adequate protection, for reasons mentioned above.

Internal flight alternative

[11]     On the evidence before me, I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Iran for the claimant, for reasons mentioned above.

CONCLUSION

[12]     The claimant is a Convention refugee.

[13]     I accept her claim.

Categories
All Countries Iran

2019 RLLR 31

Citation: 2019 RLLR 31
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 21, 2019
Panel: M. Hayes
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Olha Senyshyn
Country: Iran
RPD Number: TB9-11210
Associated RPD Number(s): TB9-11276, TB9-11290, TB9-11291
ATIP Number: A-2021-01124
ATIP Pages: 000179-000182


REASONS FOR DECISION

On November 21, 2019, the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) heard the claims of [XXX] who claim refugee protection under sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). On that same day, the panel rendered its oral positive decision and Reasons for decision. This is the written version of the oral decision and Reasons that have been edited for clarity, spelling, grammar and syntax with added references to the documentary evidence and relevant case law where appropriate.

INTRODUCTION

[1]       I have considered your testimony, and the other evidence in the case, and I am ready to render my decision orally.

[2]       These are the reasons for the decision in the claims of [XXX] (the Principal Claimant or PC), [XXX] (the male claimant), [XXX] and [XXX], who claim to be citizens of Iran, and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

ALLEGATIONS

[3]       The allegations of your claims are fully set out in your Basis of Claim (BOC) forms. In short, you allege that you, the PC, practiced Christianity in secret in Iran, and your home was raided by intelligence officers who searched the house and arrested and detained you overnight. You were released on bail and called to court later that month. You, the male claimant, were suspended from your job as a [XXX] and [XXX] as a result of the charges of apostasy against your wife. Fearing further detention and mistreatment at the hands of the Iranian authorities because of the PC’s conversion from Islam to Christianity, you fled to Canada to make refugee claims.

DETERMINATION

[4]       I find that you are Convention refugees as you have established a serious possibility of persecution.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[5]       I find that your identities as nationals of Iran are established by the documents provided, including certified true copies of your Iranian passports, and the testimony of the PC.

Nexus

[6]       I find that you have established a nexus to section 96 by reason of your religion.

Credibility

[7]       I found you, the PC, to be a credible witness. There were no material inconsistencies between your testimony and your BOC, and other documents before me. Your testimony about your Christian faith appeared to be heartfelt. Based on your testimony, the documents you have provided, and the information in your BOC forms and narrative, I note no serious credibility issues. You submitted two letters from the Pastor of your church in Toronto that corroborate that the four claimants attend church regularly and have done so for the past eight months, and the three adult claimants are on a waiting list to be baptized. You also submitted the court summons that you received by mail in Iran, the letter suspending the male claimant from work, as well as a support letter from a friend who is a Pastor at an Iranian Christian Church in California. I have no reasons to doubt the authenticity of the evidence, and accept, on a balance of probabilities, that you are practicing Christians, and that the PC was accused of apostasy in Iran.

Well Founded Fear of Persecution

[8]       Your subjective fear of persecution as Christian converts is objectively well founded. Based on the country condition evidence in the National Documentation Package (NDP) for Iran, March 2019, the country condition documents submitted by you, and your credible allegations, I find that you have a well-founded fear of persecution in Iran by reason of your conversion to Christianity.

[9]       The preponderance of the documentary evidence corroborates that one of the most significant human rights problems in Iran is the severe restriction on civil liberties such as freedom of religion.1 Iranian law prohibits citizens from converting from Islam to another religion and Christian converts are not recognized as Christian under the law. Christians who convert from Islam experience arrest, detention, and high levels of harassment and surveillance. Many Christian converts are forced to practice their religion in secret.2 Severe human rights violations targeting religious minorities, especially Christian converts, continue.3

Nature of the harm

[10]     The harm you would face upon return to Iran, detention and mistreatment by the authorities, clearly amounts to persecution.

State protection

[11]     Since the state is the agent of persecution in your case, I find that it would be objectively unreasonable for you to seek the protection of the state and, therefore, you have rebutted the presumption of state protection.

Internal flight alternative

[12]     I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Iran, given the documentary evidence that the authorities operate similarly throughout the country. Therefore, I find there is no viable internal flight alternative.

CONCLUSION

[13]     Based on the analysis above, I conclude that you are Convention refugees and accept your claims.

1 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Iran (March 29, 2019), Item 2.1.
2 Ibid., Item 12.1.
3 Ibid., Item 12.2.

Categories
All Countries Iran

2019 RLLR 22

Citation: 2019 RLLR 22
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: August 7, 2019
Panel: J. Bousfield
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Ardeshir H. Zarezadeh
Country: Iran
RPD Number: TB8-24144
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-24188, TB8-24203, TB8-24203, TB8-24204
ATIP Number: A-2021-01124
ATIP Pages: 000145-000147


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: I’ve considered the testimony and evidence in this case and I’m rendering an oral decision. Written reasons will be provided.

[2]       This is the decision in the claims for refugee protection of [XXX], [XXX], [XXX], and [XXX]. They claim to be citizens of Iran from Tehran. They’re claiming refugee protection under Section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       The principal claimant was designated representative for the minor claimants.

[4]       I’m satisfied that the claimants are citizens of Iran and as to their personal identity based on their passports which can be found in Exhibit 1.

[5]       The details of the allegations appear in the answers to the principal claimant’s Basis of Claim Form which is Exhibit 2.1 and were elaborated upon by him in oral testimony during the hearing this morning. The central allegations of a much longer narrative are the following.

[6]       The principal claimant made police complaints in regard to a business dispute with a well connected landlord. The landlord retaliated by using connections in the police and the courts to have the complaints dismissed. He then had the principal claimant arrested, detained, and accused of insulting the Iranian regime. The principal claimant therefore fled to Turkey in [XXX] 2017.

[7]       Iranian authorities harassed and threatened the female claimant after the principal claimant went to Turkey. The claimants therefore fled to Canada on temporary residence visas in July 2018 and initiated these inland refugee protection claims a few weeks after their arrival.

[8]       The claimants have been politically active against the Iranian regime while they’ve been in Canada. They fear political persecution if they return to Iran.

[9]       For the following reasons I find that the claimants are Convention refugees.

[10]     The affirmed testimony of refugee claimants is presumed to be true, unless it is internally inconsistent, inherently implausible, or contradicted by documentary evidence on country conditions. In this regard I am relying on the Federal Court of Appeal decision in Maldonado.

[11]     For the most part there was no such fault with the principal claimant’s testimony. Furthermore, the allegations in the case are corroborated by a number of personal documents that I do not have sufficient to discount including probative photographs, a court order, a lease, and a statement from the principal claimant’s former business partner. These documents can be found in Exhibits 4 and 5.

[12]     For all these reasons I find that the principal claimant is a credible witness and that the central allegations in this case are all true, on a balance of probabilities.

[13]     The country documentary evidence before me indicates that peaceful political opposition to the Iranian Government and its policies and perceived opposition in this regard will attract a serious possibility of persecution by the government in Iran.  The country documents in this regard can be found in Sections I, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, and 12 of Exhibit 3 which is the National Documentation Package for Iran for March 29, 2019.

[14]     Therefore, based on this country documentary evidence and the credible allegations, I find that the claimants have a well-founded fear of persecution in Iran by reason of their perceived anti­government political opinion and/or their family relationship to the principal claimant.

[15]     As the Government of Iran is an agent of persecution, I find that adequate State protection and viable internal flight alternatives are not available to the claimants.

[16]     I therefore conclude that they’re Convention refugees. The … these claims are therefore accepted. This decision is concluded. Thank you for corning. Good morning.

[17]     Thank you, Madam Interpreter.

[18]     INTERPRETER: Thank you.

[19]     CLAIMANT: Thank you.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED —

Categories
All Countries Iran

2019 RLLR 119

Citation: 2019 RLLR 119
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: May 16, 2019
Panel: I. Singh
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Brian Ibrahim Cintosun
Country: Iran
RPD Number: TB9-01998
ATIP Number: A-2021-00256
ATIP Pages: 000001-000003


[1]       MEMBER: I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case, and I am ready to render my decision orally. I would like to add that written reasons will be issued, and the written form of these reasons may be edited for spelling, syntax, and grammar, and references to the applicable case law and documentary evidence may also be included.

[2]       You, the Claimant, [XXX] you claim to be a male citizen of Iran, and you are claiming refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       Determination: I find that you are a Convention refugee for the following reasons:

[4]       I find that you have established a serious possibility of persecution based upon the Convention ground of membership in a particular social group based on your sexual orientation as a gay man.

[5]       Allegations: Your allegations are contained in your Basis of Claim form, and I won’t repeat them all here, but in summary, you allege the following:

[6]       You fear returning to Iran because you identify as a gay man, which is illegal in Iran.

[7]       Analysis/Identity: Your identity as a national of Iran is established by your testimony and a certified true copy of your Iranian passport found in Exhibit 1.

[8]       Credibility: Although I had some minor credibility concerns with your testimony, overall, I have found you to be a credible witness on a balance of probabilities and therefore believe what you have alleged in support of your claim. You testified in a straightforward manner without embellishment and there were no relevant inconsistencies in your testimony or contradictions between your testimony and the other evidence before me that were not satisfactorily explained.

[9]       Well-founded fear, state protection, and internal flight alternative: As it relates to the well-foundedness of your fear of persecution, I find that your subjective fear has an objective basis based on the objective documentary evidence before me. In the National Documentation Package, which is Exhibit 3, it confirms that same sex acts are criminalized in Iran, and gay men who are arrested are reported to suffer a range of human rights violations in detention, which range from harassment to physical torture. The test in assessing your risk of harm is forward-looking. You testified credibly about your fears regarding returning to Iran and the treatment you would receive. Your testimony was consistent with the country conditions in Iran, as reported in the documentary evidence. Thus, there is an objective basis to support your fears based upon your sexual orientation.

[10]     So having considered all this evidence before me, and your testimony which I believe to be credible on a balance of probabilities, I find that your fear of persecution is well-founded and you face a serious possibility of persecution in Iran due to your sexual orientation. Given that it’s the Iranian Government and authorities that you fear, I find it would be objectively unreasonable for you to seek the protection of the Iranian Government in light of your particular circumstances. I also find that you face a serious possibility of persecution throughout Iran, given that the documentary evidence shows the state authorities operate similarly throughout Iran. Therefore, I do not find that you have a viable internal flight alternative within Iran.

[11]     Conclusion: I conclude that you are a Convention refugee, and I therefore accept your claim.

[12]     And that concludes the decision and the hearing.

— DECISION CONCLUDED