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