Man who fled Iran after alleged rape has decision quashed

Refugee Appeals Tribunal must now reconsider application

A man who claimed he fled his native Iran fearing he would be persecuted over his gay sexual orientation and after being raped by a police officer's son there has won a High Court order quashing a decision refusing him refugee status.

The Refugee Appeals Tribunal must now reconsider his application in light of the findings.

Mr Justice Colm MacEochaidh quashed the refusal as a result of errors in how the tribunal member decided he did not believe the applicant was either gay or had been raped by a neighbour whose father was a colonel in the Iranian police.

The 36-year-old applicant claimed he was blackmailed into the rape at the neighbour’s apartment after the neighbour threatened he would tell a lie to his police officer father to the effect the applicant had given him a gay pornographic DVD.

The applicant also alleged, while he was being raped, the neighbour’s father had appeared on the scene and attacked him and had later shown the applicant’s mother a picture of the rape taken on the police officer’s phone.

The judge said he found it “particularly difficult to comprehend” how the applicant’s claim to be an unwilling participant in the alleged rape incident could have been undermined by him also saying he knew the alleged rapist and had made suggestive overtures to him in the past.

The tribunal had also mischaracterised evidence from a gay witness who knew the applicant for five years and who had said he was “absolutely convinced” the applicant “is not a straight man”, the judge found.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times