Judge Blocks Deportation of Rapist Who Faked Christian ‘Conversion’

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A judge has blocked an illegal immigrant’s deportation on the basis of “human rights” concerns despite conceding that the man — said to pose a “serious threat” to the public after raping a 17-year-old girl — only pretended to become Christian as a ploy to stay in Britain.

Lord Justice Simon said he accepted that the Iranian rapist had fabricated a claim to be a Christian convert in order to stay in the United Kingdom, but argued that the man could still be at risk of ill-treatment in Iran as a result of a Twitter account from which he posted Bible verses.

Identified only as ‘AM’ in the court papers, the 38-year-old — who arrived in Britain on January 15th, 2006, filing a request for asylum the same day — had his initial claim rejected by authorities just over two weeks later.

Though his rights of appeal against that refusal were exhausted on June 2nd the same year, the man then applied for a European Economic Area (EEA) Residence Card on April 2nd, 2008, on the basis that his wife was an EEA national.

(The EEA is comprised of all European Union member-states plus Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, which are outside the EU’s Customs Union but subscribed to its Free Movement regime, for all intents and purposes.)

A little over a year later, the Iranian’s request was refused — however, a subsequent application lodged in December was met with approval, and AM was granted permission to live in the EEA until the end of 2014.

Convicted of the rape of a teenager in 2012, AM was given a short five-year sentence, but freed early in August 2015.

Theresa May, who was Home Secretary at the time, ordered his deportation on the basis he posed “a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to the public”.

However, the illegal immigrant promptly claimed to be Christian so he could lodge an appeal against the decision, claiming he would be at risk of persecution if returned to Iran, where converting from Islam is illegal.

At the Court of Appeal this month, the judge acknowledged the material findings of the First Tier Tribunal (FtT), which concluded that AM “represented a danger to the community and was therefore disentitled to … protection under the Refugee Convention”, as well as that his “purported conversion to Christianity was fabricated” in order to avoid deportation.

But the Iranian argued that, whether lying about being Christian or not, he would still be at risk of mistreatment in his homeland and of being accused of involvement in “anti-Islamic activities” due to having posted 850 messages including verses from the Bible and religious images from a Twitter account in his name.

The judge agreed: “In all the circumstances, I am satisfied that the appellant has established that there is a real risk that on his return he would be questioned about the details of his asylum claim and that that questioning would reveal that he has posted on Twitter … [and] that interrogation would involve a real risk of ill-treatment amounting to a breach of article 3.”

Representing the Home Office, John-Paul Waite argued that previous tribunals had erred in failing to consider whether AM could have taken “the simple and obvious step of deleting his Twitter account”, as well as pointing to numerous pieces of guidance asserting that “there was no real risk on return for someone who has simply been an asylum seeker” as authorities would only be likely to show interest in church leaders and individuals who were actively proselytising.

Lord Justice Simon said: “In these circumstances, I would allow the appeal; and remit the case to the Upper Tribunal for AM’s appeal to be considered in the light of this judgment. I would also add that directions should be sought as to the admission of any evidence and further specific submissions on the Twitter issue.”

Free Movement, an immigration and asylum law website which works for open borders, was unhappy with the judge’s decision to allow the Home Office to appeal, alleging it “gives the impression that [the] Court of Appeal is eroding [the] legal rights” of foreign criminals.

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