Today the Court of Appeal upheld the appeal of AA, a Zimbabwean asylum seeker whose case is providing the basis for the treatment of all asylum seekers from Zimbabwe.
The appeal was made on several grounds, the court upheld the appeal on ground 1 and expressed concerns about other grounds. The Court ruled that the case should return to the Asylum and Immigration tribunal for reconsideration by the same panel that sat on the original appeal hearing brought by the Home Office in August 2006.
The judgment stated that evidence suggesting that failed asylum seekers risked being subjected to serious violence by agents of the Zimbabwean Government’s Central Intelligence Organisation stationed at Harare airport had not been sufficiently addressed.
Anna Reisenberger, acting Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
We welcome this judgment, in which the Court of Appeal found that the AIT failed to fully consider the evidence presented to them.
“We would have serious concerns for the safety and welfare of any asylum seeker removed to Zimbabwe and trust that in the light of the evidence the AIT will take a similar view”.
The case follows an appeal to the AIT by the Home Office against the decision in November 2005 to allow AA the right to stay in the UK, based on evidence that refused asylum seekers were targeted by the Zimbabwe regime upon their return. The Home Office won their appeal but that ruling was today called into question by the Court of Appeal. The Home Office has not removed any asylum seekers to Zimbabwe while the test case has continued.