Jonathan Metzer succeeded in an appeal before the First-tier Tribunal on behalf of a Sri Lankan Tamil who feared being detained and tortured by the Sri Lankan government on the basis of perceived support for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The appellant had previously been unsuccessful in an application for asylum in the UK and was removed in 2007. Upon his return, a complicated chain of events arose with the result that he came to be suspected by the authorities of cooperating with the Tamil Tigers. He was detained for over a year at Joseph Camp, during which he was tortured on several occasions. He was eventually ‘released’ following payment of a bribe by a family member and he escaped to the UK. He was refused asylum and was subsequently sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for conspiracy to steal fuel. As a result, the Home Secretary made a deportation order against him. The appellant appealed.

In an 84 paragraph determination, the judge first had to decide whether the appellant’s criminal record meant he should be excluded from refugee protection. However, it was held that as he had been “little more than … a foot soldier” and had not reoffended since, he should remain eligible for asylum in principle.

The judge then considered the underlying asylum claim. Following examination of the extensive medical evidence and background material, she found all aspects of his claim to be credible”. It was held that “in light of the heightened paranoia about the resurgence of the LTTE from within the diaspora, there were “strong reasons to believe” that the appellant would be at real risk of being targeted by the authorities upon his return, in accordance with the guidance in GJ and Others (post-civil war: returnees) Sri Lanka CG [2013] UKUT 00319 (IAC).

The appellant was found to be a refugee and his claim for asylum was allowed.

Jonathan was instructed by Raj Law Solicitors.