Iraqi family can stay after European Court verdict

1:36 min

The European Court of Human Rights has decided that Sweden is wrong to deport an Iraqi family that fears attacks from Al-Qaeda.

Fredrik Beijer at the Migration Agency tells Swedish Radio News that Sweden will automatically follow the decision, and the family will not be sent to Iraq.

This decision could also affect the treatment of other Iraqi asylum seekers by the Migration Courts.

The family in question used to run a business in Baghdad that served only American clients, reports Swedish Radio News. After the murder of their daughter and the burning of their warehouse the family stopped their business in 2008. Therefore when the couple and their surviving child arrived in 2011, Sweden's Migration Agency decided that the family did not have the right of asylum, since their contact with American customers had ceased.

The family appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, saying they still feared attacks from Al-Qaeda.

Today the court found, in a Grand Chamber judgment, that "Given that the applicants had been subjected to ill-treatment by al-Qaeda, the Court found that there was a strong indication that they would continue to be at risk from non-State actors in Iraq". The decision was made by 10 votes to 7.

The European Court of Human Rights is part of the Council of Europe, a human rights organisation including countries such as Turkey and Russia, and separate from the EU. The court is the guardian of the European Convention on Human Rights, which since 1995 has been written into Swedish law. 

Sweden's migration courts are looking into how this judgement will affect their work.