Torture Victim Challenges Home Office Refusal

The refugee, who has asked not to be named for fear of possible reprisal, fled Hebron in the West Bank in July 2003, after being arrested and tortured by Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces. Although the Home Office mainly accepted his version of events, they dismissed his asylum application, stating that torture was not tolerated by the Israeli government and that his treatment did not constitute persecution, the legal test required for protection under the Refugee Convention. It is this refusal that is now being appealed. The applicant is also arguing that to return him to the Israeli authorities would be a breach of his right to life and his right not to be subjected to torture, both protected under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The use of torture by Israeli Occupation Forces is well documented and subject to international criticism at every level. The Supreme Court in Israel have ruled that torture in certain circumstances is lawful and while the Palestinian High Court has intervened in certain cases, its decisions are often ignored by the Palestinian Authority. Combined with the failure to make those responsible for torture amenable to the law, Palestinians can be tortured with impunity. Despite this, the Home Office have refused this application.