A.S. v. Sweden
United Nations Committee against Torture
Communication No. 149/1999 U.N. Doc. CAT/C/25/D/149/1999 (2001)
A.S. (plaintiff), an Iranian woman, was classified by the Iranian government as the widow of a martyr. Accordingly, she was subject to strict religious oversight by the Bonyad-e Shahid, a powerful Iranian organization. A.S. was forced into a sighe marriage, a type of short-term marriage, by Ayatollah Rahimian, the head of the Bonyad-e Shahid. After the marriage, A.S. was forced to provide sexual services to Rahimian but was not required to live with him. A.S. then fell in love with a Christian man. A.S. and the Christian man were discovered together by the Pasdaran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and arrested. The Christian man was sentenced to death for adultery. A.S. was severely beaten by Rahimian, but Rahimian then used his authority to suppress the Pasdaran’s report regarding A.S.’s adultery. Several days later, A.S travelled to Sweden on a previously acquired visa to visit her sister-in-law. A.S. was able to leave Iran without issue. After A.S. arrived in Sweden, Rahimian contacted A.S.’s sister-in-law to report that A.S. had been sentenced to death for adultery. A.S. applied for asylum in Sweden. To support A.S.’s petition, she submitted her identity papers, proof that she was the widow of a martyr, and oral testimony regarding the sighe marriage, her arrest, the beating inflicted by Rahimian, and her capital conviction for adultery. Sweden denied A.S.’s petition, stating that she failed to provide sufficient credible supporting evidence. Specifically, Sweden cited the lack of medical or arrest records and the fact that A.S. was able to leave Iran without issue. A.S. submitted a communication to the Committee against Torture, alleging that Sweden’s denial of her asylum petition violated Article 3 of the Convention against Torture because A.S. was substantially likely to be tortured if forcibly returned to Iran.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning ()
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