A Nigerian man who says he is gay and claimed he faces persecution over his sexuality in his native country has won a High Court challenge to his deportation.
The man, who cannot be identified and is referred to as “A”, was deported last year after a number of other challenges were rejected.
Mr Justice Seán Ryan yesterday quashed the Minister for Justice’s decision of July 28th last year to refuse to revoke his deportation order. The man is in Nigeria and yesterday’s decision does not mean he can come back to Ireland until the Minister reconsiders his decision, legal sources said. The court heard “A” arrived here in 2006 as an unaccompanied minor and applied for refugee status.
He claimed that on August 25th 2006, his boyfriend’s brother discovered them naked in his boyfriend’s bedroom. The brother threatened to report them and they were seriously beaten, it was claimed. Later that day, the boy rang the brother and was told they had “gotten rid” of the boyfriend and that he would be next.
He feared his parents would disown him as they were in a Christian cult and homosexuality was against their beliefs. If he went to the police they would arrest and torture him because homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, he said.
He fled to Ireland where the Refugee Commissioner rejected his asylum application highlighting “credibility issues”. The commissioner also referred to a 2004 British-Danish report, which stated that while homosexuality is illegal, few cases have been tried.
“A” appealed to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which in January 2008 also rejected his case, on credibility issues. In May 2008, he sought subsidiary protection from the Minister on grounds of risk of torture or inhumane treatment if he was returned home and in January 2009, an examining officer rejected the application. The officer again cited the British-Danish report and concluded that if homosexuals are discreet, they are unlikely to run foul of the law. Credibility issues were also cited. In February 2009, he sought leave to remain on humanitarian grounds, but the Minister affirmed the deportation order.
“A” sought a High Court injunction, but was refused and was deported. Another application was brought by his lawyers to revoke the order made on July 28th, 2009, and yesterday the judge ruled that order could be quashed.
The judge said “A” complained that the Minister gave no consideration to principles set out in a UN Human Rights Commission guidance note which says having to hide one’s sexual orientation may amount to persecution. The judge said the question that had to be addressed was, in considering the application to revoke his deportation order, how achieving his safety by living discreetly could be reconciled with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Minister’s inspector examined credibility issues in the subsidiary protection application but not in the leave to remain application, the judge said. It is for the Minister to decide what reliance to place on credibility findings made by the asylum authorities, the judge said.
In light of this, he was quashing the order of July 28th, 2009.