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Judgments concerning deportation of asylum-seekers

On 30 May 2017, the European Court of Human Rights handed down two Chamber judgments in the cases of N.A. v. Switzerland (application no. 50364/14) and A.I. v. Switzerland (application no. 23378/15), which concerned the decisions of the Swiss authorities to deport the applicants to Sudan after rejecting their applications for asylum. The Court held, unanimously, that in the event of deportation to Sudan there would be no violation of Article 2 (right to life) or Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights in the case of N.A., and a violation of Article 2 and of Article 3 of the Convention in the case of A.I.

The nature of the political activities the applicants had engaged in, while in exile, was different. In N.A. v. Switzerland, these were limited to merely participating in the activities of opposition organisations in exile and thus they were not reasonably liable to attract the attention of the intelligence services. The Court found, accordingly, that the applicant did not run a risk of ill-treatment or torture in the event of his return to Sudan. In A.I. v. Switzerland, the Court considered that it was possible that the applicant had attracted the attention of the Sudanese intelligence services. There were, therefore, reasonable grounds for believing that he ran the risk of being detained, interrogated and tortured on his arrival at Khartoum Airport.