Supreme Court: Afghan couple not entitled to refugee status in Norway after converting to Christianity

Supreme courtPhoto: Gorm Kallestad / NTB
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A family that has been in a church asylum in Hønefoss did not win in the Supreme Court, which had to decide whether conversion to Christianity provides a credible reason for asylum. 

The family has been in several church shelters since they arrived in Norway in 2015, most recently in Hønefoss.

The Supreme Court concluded that the couple from Afghanistan was not entitled to refugee status. The family has stated that they have converted from Islam to Christianity after coming to Norway. The couple has three small children and applied for asylum in November 2015 in Norway. The family claims that they escaped from forced marriage.

Split court

In the specific assessment, the Supreme Court was divided. The majority of three judges found a number of circumstances that they believed weakened the credibility of the couple’s explanations.

Priests have made statements that supported the couple’s explanations, but the majority believed that due to the weaknesses in the couple’s explanations, the priests’ statements could not be decisive.

In 2017, the family was refused asylum in the district court, which chose to uphold the decision from the Immigration Appeals Board. In the Borgarting Court of Appeal last year, they lost again and appealed to the Supreme Court when it came to the assessment of evidence, the application of the law, and the case processing. 

The Norwegian Church and the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) also provided third-party intervention in support of the couple.

Forced marriage

The family believes they escaped from a forced marriage in Afghanistan. In Europe, they converted to Christianity and have stated that they fear they will be persecuted if they return to their homeland.

One of the judges in the Supreme Court points out in the verdict, among other things, that the conversion to Christianity came around a month after the asylum application was rejected and a few days before the request for conversion was submitted.

The case is important in principle as it is the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case where it decided whether conversion is a credible reason for asylum.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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2 Comments on "Supreme Court: Afghan couple not entitled to refugee status in Norway after converting to Christianity"

  1. What??

    They’re DEAD, if they go back (in)to Afghanistan with the Taliban on the offensive and/or taking it over. As apostate Christian converts, they will be prime, symbolic targets.

    Norway’s “supreme court” has just sentenced them to death.

    UNbelievable!

    “If” they are murdered after returning, the supreme court justices responsible should be arraigned and tried as full accessories to their murder.

  2. Of course, if their conversion was only to bolster their asylum case and not sincere, I can see the court’s suspicion and motive … but it is still probable they’ll soon be dead upon returning.

    And their willingness to convert does show their desire to be Norwegian.

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