Migrants backed by court in Italy deportation fight

Supreme Court Image copyright PA
Image caption The Supreme Court said it is "forbidden" to send asylum seekers to a country where there is "real risk" to their human rights

Four asylum seekers challenging deportation to Italy in line with EU rules have been backed by the UK Supreme Court.

The court ruled that their case should be re-examined amid claims they could be subjected to "inhuman" treatment.

The four - an Iranian and three Eritreans - arrived in the UK via Italy.

EU law says they must return to Italy, the first place they sought asylum, for their claims to be processed.

But the asylum seekers, two men and two women, are worried they could be in danger of human rights violations should they return.

The women say they were repeatedly raped in the country. One of them says she is still traumatised by the experience and is suicidal at the thought of being sent back.

The Iranian national says he was tortured as a political prisoner in Iran, which left him severely psychologically disturbed and in need of medical treatment. which he would not receive in Italy


In the Supreme Court's judgement on Wednesday, Lord Kerr said: "The removal of a person from a member state of the Council of Europe to another country is forbidden if it is shown that there is a real risk that the person transferred will suffer treatment contrary to article 3 of ECHR (European Court of Human Rights)."

Article 3 forbids sending asylum seekers to a country where they could be at risk of "inhuman or degrading treatment".

A judge at the High Court will now be asked to establish whether there is a "real possibility" of treatment in violation of human rights in Italy.

The Supreme Court justices said Italy was a country "presumed to be safe" for returning asylum seekers.

But they said Home Office ministers had to be satisfied that claims to the contrary were not "clearly unfounded".

Home Secretary Theresa May had previously said Italy was not in "systemic breach" of international obligations to treat asylum seekers with dignity.

The four in question challenged Mrs May's decision in the Court of Appeal, but lost. They then took their cases to the Supreme Court.

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