Categories
All Countries Saudi Arabia

2020 RLLR 22

Citation: 2020 RLLR 22
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 19, 2020
Panel: Ana Rico
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Mohamed Mahdi
Country: Saudi Arabia
RPD Number: TB9-06159
ATIP Number: A-2021-00540
ATIP Pages: 000135-0000137


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: These are the reasons for decision in the claim for refugee protection filed [XXX], under Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Allegations

[2]       The allegations of persecution are fully set out in the Basis of Claim form, which can be found at Exhibit 2 and Exhibit 11. In short, the claimant alleges a fear of persecution at the hands of the Saudi authorities because of his political views. The claimant has voiced those views repeatedly on publicly accessible social s- media platforms, like Twitter and Snapchat. The claimant was also actively involved advocating for minority rights in Saudi Arabia. If returned to Saudi Arabia, the claimant fears that he will be detained by the authorities or disappeared, or in worse case scenario, killed. For the reasons outlined below, I find that the claimant is a Convention refugee, as he has established a serious possibility of persecution in Saudi Arabia, based on his real or perceived political opinion.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[3]       The claimant’s identity as a national of Saudi Arabia is established, on a balance of probabilities, through the certified true copy of his passport, which can be found at Exhibit 1.

[4]       Exclusion under Article 1 F(a) is not applicable. Exclusion is not applicable in this case, as the claimant’s time in the Ministry of Defence, does not engage any concerns related to Article 1 F(a). The claimant was a [XXX] in the Ministry of Defence for Saudi Arabia, for approximately [XXX] years. During his time of service, the claimant assisted with the [XXX] activities. The claimant never engaged in armed conflict, nor was he present for any armed conflict, nor was he aware of the Minister of Defence military activities in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. While the Saudi Arabian military, in particular the Ministry of Defence, has been accused of committing war-crimes and crimes against humanity, the claimant’ s position was so far removed, that he could not have been complicit or willfully blind to any of the alleged activities, for which he would have had no knowledge. Lastly, I note, that the Minister decided not to intervene in this matter and noted the following in its letter: the claimant’s front-end security screening passed and was favourable.

Credibility

[5]       It is trite law that testimony given under oath is presumed to be true, unless there are reasons to doubt its veracity. The claimant’s testimony and corroborating evidence, in particular, the plethora of evidence concerning his online activities, which can be found throughout Exhibit 10, establishes his political profile. The claimant clearly articulated his fear of returning to Saudi Arabia, specifically, his fear of being killed because he has spoken against the King; a fear that is well supported in the documentary evidence, within the National Documentation Package, for Saudi Arabia. While the claimant falsely presented himself as a security specialist in his visa application, I do not draw a negative inference, as it is clear that he only did so to be more likely to be successful in obtaining a visa; his only way out of the country. And, given that he was fleeing persecution, I will not fault the claimant for doing so. I do not draw a negative inference from the amendments to the Basis of Claim form, which can be found at Exhibit 11. It is clear that the amendments are only additions, that include events that have happened after arriving in Canada. And, even if one were to disagree with me, any concerns that could arise from these amendments are not sufficient to rebut the presumption of truthfulness with respect to the claimant’s political views which can be viewed publicly; online on Twitter. It’ s the nature of these political views that he voiced so publicly, that places him at risk in Saudi Arabia on his return. So, based on the above reasons, I find that on a balance of probabilities, the claimant’s allegations are true.

Well-Founded Fear of Persecution

[6]       The documentary evidence, which can be found within Exhibit 3 of the National Documentation Package for Saudi Arabia, specifically, at Tabs 4.1 and 11.2, establishes that there is a well-founded fear of persecution for those persons, like the claimant, who are critical of the government on social media. In late 2010, the government moved to increase its control over independent blogs and websites, demanding that these too obtain official licences. The rule could not be effectively imp- implemented, but several Twitter users and bloggers have been arrested in recent years for alleged religious deviance. The government closely monitors social media and has its own operatives engaged in targeted counter-propaganda. Internet freedom in Saudi Arabia further declined in 2018, amid an escalating intolerance for all forms of political, social, and religious dissent. An anti-terrorism law, introduced in November 2017, laid out lengthy prison sentenĀ­ terms for offences linked to non-violent political and religious speech; such as portraying the King or a crown-prince in a manner that brings religion or justice in disrepute. Given the climate of oppression towards persons who post on social media views critical of the government, I find that the claimant’s fear of persecution is objectively well-founded.

State Protection

[7]      As the agent of persecution is the government of Saudi Arabia, I find that it would be objectively unreasonable for the claimant to seek protection of the very agent of persecution whom he fears.

Internal Flight Alternative

[8]       I also find that the claimant faces a serious possibility of persecution throughout Saudi Arabia, especially given the country documentation that indicates that the authorities operate similarly throughout Saudi Arabia, towards those who are, or perceived to be, political dissidents. Therefore, viable internal flight alternatives are not available to the claimant.

[9]       Based on the foregoing analysis, I conclude that the claimant is a Convention refugee and I accept his claim.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Saudi Arabia

2019 RLLR 112

Citation: 2019 RLLR 112
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 21, 2019
Panel: M. Hayes
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Sarah Jamali
Country: Saudi Arabia
RPD Number: TB9-13037
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000197-000200


REASONS FOR DECISION

On November 21, 2019, the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) heard the claim of [XXX] who claims 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 claim of [XXX], who claims to be a citizen of Saudi Arabia, and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

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

ALLEGATIONS

[4]       The allegations of your claim are fully set out in your Basis of Claim (BOC) form. Very briefly, you have suffered extreme physical and emotional abuse from your mother all your life. As well, your brothers and your ex-husband were very emotionally and physically abusive towards you, and your ex-husband is abusive towards your four minor children. You sought police protection, but protection was not forthcoming. You fear returning to Saudi Arabia where you will continue to face violent mistreatment, death threats, and emotional abuse at the hands of the agents of persecution. You were able to escape from Saudi Arabia to come to Canada to make a refugee claim. Despite efforts to date to bring your four minor children to Canada, you were forced to leave them in Saudi Arabia in the circumstances.

DETERMINATION

[5]       I find that you are a Convention refugee as you have established a serious possibility of persecution should you return to Saudi Arabia based on the grounds in section 96.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[6]       I find that your identity as a national of Saudi Arabia is established by a certified true copy of your Saudi passport, as well as by your testimony.

Nexus

[7]       I find that you have established a nexus to section 96 by reason of your membership in a particular social group, that being your gender.

Credibility

[8]       I find that you were a credible witness and I accept the allegations in your claim. You testified in a straightforward manner and there were no inconsistencies between your testimony and the documents before me, such as the Port of Entry notes and your 151 paragraph BOC narrative and amendments that detail the lifetime of domestic torture and abuse you have suffered as a woman in Saudi Arabia. I was concerned that you did not take more steps to obtain additional documentary evidence such as your children’s Birth Certificates. However, I accept your explanation that trying to obtain those documents would likely cause problems with your children’s father. You did submit a recent medical report that corroborates the burn scars all over your body are consistent with the injuries inflicted on you by your mother when you were a child, as you describe in your BOC; a letter from the Refugee Law Office that corroborates that you obtained legal advice earlier this year regarding the legal risks of re-availing to Turkey to bring your children back to Canada; the custody order obtained by your ex-husband, and the custody order obtained by you, which describes the harm your children suffered at the hands of your ex-husband. I have no reasons to doubt the authenticity of the evidence you submitted and find that the evidence supports and corroborates the allegations in your claim.

Objective basis of future risk

[9]       Based on the credibility of your allegations, and the objective country condition evidence, I find that you have established a well founded fear and a future risk that you will be subjected to mistreatment and violence at the hands of the agents of persecution, in a country where women have limited rights, and there are reports of judges and police returning women to their abusers.1 The fact that you face these risks is corroborated by the documents submitted by you in Exhibit 5, as well as numerous documents in the National Documentation Package (NDP) for Saudi Arabia (March 29, 2019), including Items 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, and 5.6.

Nature of the harm

[10]     The harm you have faced, and would face upon return to Saudi Arabia, clearly amounts to persecution.

State protection

[11]     I accept that you sought state protection, but protection was not forthcoming. Your experience is consistent with the country conditions described in the above cited documentary evidence. As such, I find that you have rebutted the presumption of state protection, as there is clear and convincing evidence before me that the state is unable to provide you with adequate protection.

Internal flight alternative (IFA)

[12]     With regards to an IFA, I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Saudi Arabia, as one of the agents of persecution is the father of your children, and this close family connection means that he could likely locate you anywhere in the country.

CONCLUSION

[13]     Based on this analysis I conclude that you are a Convention refugee and accept your claim.

1 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Saudi Arabia (March 29, 2019), Item 2.1.

Categories
All Countries Saudi Arabia

2019 RLLR 108

Citation: 2019 RLLR 108
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 7, 2019
Panel: A. Rico
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Hannah Lindy
Country: Saudi Arabia
RPD Number: TB8-25749
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000172-000175


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: These are the reasons for decision in the claim of [XXX]. First name is spelled, [XXX] (sic).  Second name is spelled [XXX], middle initial [XXX]. Last name is spelled, [XXX] who claims to be a citizen of Saudi Arabia and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[2]       In rendering my decisions, I have had considered and applied the Chairperson’s guidelines on women refugee claimants fearing gender related persecution.

[3]       You allege the following. You were sexually assaulted in Canada by a male Saudi citizen. You reported the sexual assault to the police and criminal charges were laid which resulted in criminal proceedings against the male Saudi citizen.

[4]       The Saudi Government pressured you to drop the criminal charges and to work with them to stop the criminal proceedings.

[5]       The male Saudi citizen belongs to a prominent family in Saudi Arabia. You fear that you will be prosecuted if returned to Saudi Arabia as the Saudi Government would blame you for being sexually assaulted.

[6]       I find that you are a Convention refugee as your fear of persecution is by reasons of your membership in a particular social group, specifically that a woman fearing gender based violence.

[7]       I find that your identity as a national of Saudi Arabia is established by your testimony and the supporting documentation filed, including the certified true copy of your passport found at Exhibit 1.

[8]       I find that the wealth of documentation found at Exhibits 5 and 7 establishes, on a balance of probabilities, that criminal charges were laid against a male Saudi citizen, and that you received threats from the Saudi Government because of these criminal charges.

[9]       You provided documents corroborating the criminal court proceedings against the male Saudi citizen as well as the threats you received via WhatsApp messaging arising from the commencement of those criminal court proceedings.

[10]     Given the preponderance of the corroborating evidence before me I find that, on a balance of probabilities, your allegations of persecution are, in fact, true.

[11]     I do not draw a negative credibility inference from your delay in making a refugee claim. I find it completely understandable that you had many things going on between attending hospital appointments, attending court appearances, and being available for Crown Prosecutors related to your criminal case.

[12]     I find it completely reasonable that the criminal case be in the forefront of your mind and that you would focus on the criminal proceedings.

[13]     I also note that at the time you were not at risk of being removed until Saudi students were called back to Saudi Arabia. As such, the risk had not yet materialized for you. And shortly after the risk of return to Saudi Arabia materialized you initiated your refugee claim.

[14]     While I continue to have concerns regarding your re-availment to Saudi Arabia in 2017, when weighing the totality of evidence as a whole these concerns are insufficient to rebut the presumption of truthfulness.

[15]     I therefore find that you have established a subjective fear of persecution if you are to be returned to Saudi Arabia by reason of your membership in a particular social group, specifically that of women fearing gender based violence.

[16]     Your subjective fear of persecution is objectively well-founded.

[17]     The documentary evidence at Exhibit 3 Item 2.1 states that one of the most significant human rights issues included violence and official gender discrimination against women, despite the announced new women’s rights initiatives.

[18]     Though rape is a criminal offence under Shari law, a rape victim must provide four witnesses to the rape or the perpetrator’s confession. Otherwise, the victim will be persecuted … prosecuted for having illegal sex. Punishment imposed by the court for having illegal sex may range from flogging if she is single or execution if she is married. Any resulting pregnancy also leaves them open to criminal prosecution or other punishment such as honour killing. Evidence of which can be found at Exhibit 3 Items 5.1 and 5.6.

[19]     Few cases of rape are prosecuted or reported as women fear being prosecuted themselves if they do report the crime.

[20]     Given that the criminal proceedings of sexual assault against a male Saudi citizen is public knowledge and that the Saudi Government through its embassy is aware of these criminal proceedings and that the objective documentary evidence establishes that you will more likely than not face a serious possibility of persecution if returned to Saudi Arabia as you may be punished for having what is considered in Saudi Arabia illegal sex, I find that you have established a well-founded fear of persecution in Saudi Arabia.

[21]     As the agent of persecution in your particular circumstances is the State, given that they will more likely than not prosecute and met out the punishment, I find that it would be objectively unreasonable for you to seek protection of the State.

[22]     I have also considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for you. On the evidence before me I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Saudi Arabia.

[23]     It is clear from the objective documentary evidence that the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia is the same throughout. As such, there is no safe place for you.

[24]     Based on the analysis above I conclude that you are a Convention refugee. Accordingly, I accept your claim.

[25]     Okay, let’s pull the mics back.

[26]     This concludes today’s hearing. We will be going off the record now. I wish you all a good afternoon.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-