The Refugee Board has completely failed to take into account evidence presented by a party pertaining to his political activity and to the treatment of members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan at the hands of state authorities. That failure might have had a considerable impact on the decision taken by the administrative authorities as the party in question gave new evidence related to his current situation in the context of his political activity, claiming that he was being persecuted by Tajikistani authorities. This led to the defective administrative decision being repealed.
The Voivodeship Administrative Court of Warsaw repealed the decision of the Refugee Board not to grant international protection to a Tajik citizen making use of legal assistance offered by the Association for Legal Intervention (decision IV SA/Wa 446/19 of 10th December 2019). In the opinion of the Administrative Court, the Refugee Board has failed to thoroughly and competently examine collected evidence while reviewing the case in question. It completely ignored important pieces of evidence given by the party in the course of appeal proceedings.
One month before a decision was taken by a body of the second instance, the foreigner’s attorney-in-fact filed a letter requesting that the court take certain evidence into account. That evidence indicated that the foreigner belonged to an opposition party known as Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan and was actively involved in politics. If he were to be returned to Tajikistan, he may be persecuted on account of his political activity. There is a risk of him being subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment after he returns to his country. Such a conclusion may be drawn because active members of that opposition party are persecuted in Tajikistan on a regular basis. Evidence presented also indicated that his family was facing repressive measures in his home country as a result of his political involvement.
The Voivodeship Administrative Court of Warsaw concluded that the circumstances to which the motion to consider evidence pertained were of importance for the proceedings in question. It stated that:
The party wished to prove and substantiate with such evidence a claim that his family members were indeed being persecuted due to his political activity and that he may himself be threatened with such persecution were he to return to his home country.
According to the Administrative Court, the appellatory body, by failing to acknowledge motion for considering evidence filed by the party, committed a breach of Article 7, 77 § 1 and 80 of the Code of Administrative
Procedure. In the Court’s assessment:
The failure in question might have had a considerable impact on the decision taken. The party did present new evidence related to his current situation after a decision was taken by a first instance body, claiming that he was persecuted by Tajikistani authorities.
Lawyers from the Association for Legal Intervention provided legal assistance to the client during proceedings before the Refugee Board. The Association also participated in the proceedings before the Voivodeship Administrative Court as a social institution allowed to take part in them. It was represented by Aleksandra Pulchny.