N. v. Sweden
European Court of Human Rights
App. No. 23505/09 (2010)
In 2004 N. (plaintiff) and her husband, X., fled to Sweden (defendant) from Afghanistan, where they sought asylum based on persecution for their political beliefs. N. and X.’s asylum application was denied, and they appealed. However, in February 2008, N. sought a divorce from X., which X. opposed. N. later requested Sweden not to deport her. N. asserted that she and X. had separated in 2005, and she had not seen X. since then. N. indicated that she had begun a relationship with a Swedish man, thereby committing adultery, for which she could receive the death penalty if returned to Afghanistan. N. testified that her family was furious and had disowned her. Various international reports indicated that the situation in Afghanistan was very difficult for women who did not conform to mandated gender roles and religious norms, whether married or unmarried. Many faced isolation and were the victims of honor crimes. Many women were not allowed to leave home without wearing burqas or having male escorts. Statistics indicated that 80 percent of women faced domestic violence. Because authorities saw violence against women as acceptable, they did not prosecute such cases. Reports also indicated that women were sometimes thrown in prison at their families’ request if the women refused to marry the men their families had selected, for adultery, or even in place of relatives who had engaged in criminal activity but had not been found. N. submitted no evidence that her family or Afghan authorities knew of the divorce attempt or that she would be in danger of inhumane treatment on return. N. submitted a letter from her boyfriend that indicated that they had lived together since 2009 but did not testify with specificity regarding her alleged relationship with the Swedish man or her move to his address, nor did she explain this omission. N. alleged treatment in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the convention) if returned to Afghanistan.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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