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Tribunal: Member B Darcy

The AAT remitted a decision of a delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) for reconsideration, after finding the applicant was a refugee.

The applicant claimed to fear harm if he returned to his home area in southern Yemen because he was an Orthodox or Coptic Christian and considered an apostate from Islam, after converting. He also claimed to fear harm as a non-indigenous Yemeni and for his anti-government political views, among other things. The applicant’s claims about his religious identity were new claims before the AAT, which he had not previously raised with the Department.

The AAT did not accept the applicant’s claim he was at risk in Yemen because of his political views. His evidence he participated in an anti-government protest rally, which became violent and then led to him being hospitalised, was unconvincing and supported by fraudulent documents.

The AAT then considered whether the applicant would face a real chance of persecution in Yemen based on his religious claims to be an apostate from Islam and a convert to Christianity. Country information described Yemen as one of the most hostile environments, among any of the Muslim majority nations, for a person who gives up Islam to practice another religion.

The AAT found the applicant’s claims regarding his religious faith to be credible and that he had a real chance of arrest, long term detention and even capital punishment were he to return.

The AAT further found that, due to the ongoing civil war and absence of a central government authority in Yemen, the real chance of serious harm faced by the applicant because of his religious identity extended throughout the whole country and that no effective protection measures were available there. He had a well-founded fear of persecution and is a refugee. 

Read the full decision