Zitieren als:
EGMR, Entscheidung vom 08.07.2008 - 13508/07, A.J. v. Sweden - M17695

Keine drohende Verletzung von Art. 3 EMRK in Marokko bei einer Abschiebung aus Schweden. Keine systematischen Misshandlungen und Folter mehr bei Verhören in Marokko, auch wenn dies noch vorkommt. Der Beschwerdeführer konnte im vorliegenden Fall keine individuelle Gefährdung glaubhaft machen.

Schlagwörter: Abschiebungsverbot, Marokko, Verfolgungsgefahr, Polisario, Schweden
Normen: EMRK Art. 3, EMRK Art. 6


A. The applicant’s complaint under Article 3 of the Convention

39. The applicant complained that his deportation to Morocco would violate his rights under Article 3 of the Convention which reads:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” [...]

2. The Court’s assessment

53. The Court first observes that Contracting States have the right, as a matter of well-established international law and subject to their treaty obligations, including the Convention, to control the entry, residence and expulsion of aliens. However, the expulsion of an alien by a Contracting State may give rise to an issue under Article 3, and hence engage the responsibility of that State under the Convention, where substantial grounds have been shown for believing that the person in question, if deported, would face a real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 in the receiving country. In these circumstances, Article 3 implies the obligation not to deport the person in question to that country (see, among other authorities, Saadi v. Italy [GC], no. 37201/06, §§ 124-125, ECHR 2008-...).

54. Whilst being aware of the reports of human rights violations in Morocco, as set out above, the Court does not find them to be of such a nature as to show, on their own, that there would be a violation of the Convention if the applicant were to return to that country. The Court has to establish whether the applicant’s personal situation is such that his return to Morocco would contravene the relevant provisions of the Convention.

55. In this respect, it notes that the applicant has invoked two separate grounds for his fear of returning to his home country; firstly that the Moroccan authorities would assume that he belonged to the Polisario Front and, secondly, because they are aware that he is considered as a security threat in Sweden.

56. The Court acknowledges that, owing to the special situation in which asylum seekers often find themselves, it is frequently necessary to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to assessing the credibility of their statements and the documents submitted in support thereof. However, when information is presented which gives strong reasons to question the veracity of an asylum seeker’s submissions, the individual must provide a satisfactory explanation for the alleged discrepancies (see, among other authorities, Collins and Akasiebie v. Sweden (dec.), no. 23944/05, 8 March 2007, and Matsiukhina and Matsiukhin v. Sweden (dec.), no. 31260/04, 21 June 2005). In principle, the applicant has to adduce evidence capable of proving that there are substantial grounds for believing that, if the measure complained of were to be implemented, he would be exposed to a real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 (see N. v. Finland, no. 38885/02, § 167, 26 July 2005). Where such evidence is adduced, it is for the Government to dispel any doubts about it.

57. In order to determine whether there is a risk of ill-treatment, the Court must examine the foreseeable consequences of sending the applicant to the receiving country, bearing in mind the general situation there and his personal circumstances (see Vilvarajah and Others v. the United Kingdom, judgment of 30 October 1991, Series A no. 215, § 108 in fine).

58. In the case before it, the Court cannot but note that the applicant, when he first arrived in Sweden in 2002, failed to appear for the first meeting with the Migration Board. When he subsequently attended an interview in July 2003, nine months after his arrival, he invoked no grounds for seeking asylum whatsoever and gave only very limited information about his background. In Court’s view, the applicant’s submission that he had not had a chance to explain all his reasons for seeking asylum since he left Sweden before the second interview, is not convincing since, during the first interview, he had the chance to present his reasons for requesting asylum and, at that point, only stated that he had left his home country because a friend had felt sorry for him and therefore had helped him to leave.

59. The Court further observes that the applicant has at no point explained why he gave two different names and presented a fake French passport to the Austrian authorities when apprehended in Vienna in August 2006. Nor has he attempted to clarify why the ticket was for Syria if, as he has claimed, he was actually going to Spain. By failing to give any explanation for these unclear points, the Court finds it justified to call into question the applicant’s credibility.

60. In this respect, it observes that the applicant has also failed to present any evidence in support of his allegations that he left Morocco illegally and that the Moroccan authorities would suspect him of belonging to the Polisario Front. Even assuming that the applicant originates from Western Sahara, the Court notes that, according to the international sources available, there is nothing to substantiate that the Moroccan authorities would persecute him on this single ground. This is further reinforced by the fact that the applicant has maintained all along that he has never been a member of the Polisario Front, that he has never been interested in politics and that he has never had any contact with the Moroccan authorities. In these circumstances, the Court finds it highly unlikely that the applicant, on this ground, would suffer treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention if deported to Morocco.

61. Turning to whether he would face a real risk of being subjected to ill-treatment or torture upon return to his home country because he is considered a security risk in Sweden, the Court makes the following evaluation. The Swedish Security Police, migration authorities and the Government consider the applicant to be a security threat in Sweden while the applicant has consistently held that he poses no such threat. The applicant fears that the Swedish Security Police have given such information to the Moroccan authorities that they will arrest and interrogate him if he is returned, and, in particular, that he will be ill-treated and tortured during the interrogation. The Government claim that this fear is unfounded and the Migration Court of Appeal has reached the same conclusion on both occasions that it has been consulted.

62. The Court first notes that the issue before it is not whether the applicant would be arrested and interrogated by the Moroccan authorities or not, since this would not, in itself, be in contravention of the Convention. Its concern is whether or not the applicant would be ill-treated or tortured, contrary to Article 3 of the Convention, upon return to his home country. In examining this matter, the Court observes that the human rights situation in Morocco has improved over the last couple of years. The country has enacted an anti-torture law and implemented measures to suppress the use of torture by the authorities. Police and members of the security forces who have been suspected of being involved in torture have been prosecuted and some have been convicted and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Moreover, increased human rights training has been provided to police, military officers and prison officials and the Moroccan Government have permitted visits to prisons and detention centres by independent human rights observers and the Moroccan Observatory of Prisons. Still, allegations and reports of the occurrences of ill-treatment and torture by police and security forces have continued although there were fewer such complaints in 2007 than in the aftermath of the 2003 Casablanca bombings.

63. It appears from the above information that Morocco has taken significant steps towards improving the human rights situation in the country. In the Court’s opinion, although ill-treatment and torture still occurs, it has not been established that it is routinely used during interrogation of individuals. Police and security forces are aware that it is prohibited and carries heavy penalties and there are both national and international organisations present to investigate and report on abuses.

64. Here, the Court reiterates that it is for the applicant to adduce evidence capable of proving that there are substantial grounds for believing that, if he were to be deported to Morocco, he would be exposed to a real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 (see above § 56). In this respect, it observes that the applicant has at no point been charged or tried for committing any crime in Sweden. When he was apprehended in March 2004, he was questioned by the police for a few hours and then released without any further measures being taken against him. The applicant has himself stated that the police mostly asked questions about X. since he had briefly rented a room in X.’s apartment. The Court further notes that the applicant has neither claimed that he is wanted by the Moroccan authorities nor that he has been charged with any crime in that country. However, he has stated that he has never had any contact with the Moroccan authorities and that he has never been politically active. Thus, the applicant has failed to submit anything substantial in support of his allegation that the Moroccan authorities would show a particular interest in him and that he would face a real risk of being ill-treated or tortured and, consequently, the Court finds that he has not substantiated his claim. In reaching this conclusion, the Court has taken into account the Government’s submission that the Security Police, being responsible for the applicant’s deportation, are bound by the provision in the Secrecy Act regarding the protection of an alien’s personal circumstances.

65. Lastly, as concerns the applicant’s choice to make public his name and photo in the Swedish media, the Court takes that as an indication that he apparently did not consider the risk of being deported and subjected to torture in Morocco to be so serious that he wanted to minimise that risk at all costs. In any event, the Court considers that the information provided in the article mainly highlighted the applicant’s assurances that he was not a security risk to Sweden and just wanted to be allowed to remain in the country. Thus, no information appeared in the article which would cause the Moroccan authorities to take a particular interest in the applicant, if indeed they were made aware of the existence of the article.

66. Having regard to the above and to all the material in the case-file, the Court concludes that the applicant has not established that there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be exposed to a real risk of being ill-treated or tortured, contrary to Article 3 of the Convention, if he were to be deported to Morocco. It follows that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention. [...]