CAT/C/66/D/776/2016

Committee, acting through the same Rapporteur, denied the State party’s request to
discontinue examination of the communication. 1
The facts as submitted by the complainants
2.1
The complainants are Catholic and are married to each other. In 2006, the male
complainant began employment as an office worker in the Swiss Embassy in Islamabad.
Beginning in 2010, he started receiving regular telephone calls from individuals offering
monetary bribes in exchange for illegally obtained visas.
2.2
In February 2011, individuals confronted the male complainant in the street with the
same request. Given that he always refused these requests, the telephone calls he received
at work became more threatening. In early March 2011, he received a threatening letter. In
the middle of April 2011, in Lahore, the same individuals who had threatened him attacked
and violently beat him.
2.3
Approximately two weeks after the attack in Lahore, the male complainant learned
that he had been reported to the police for violating the legal prohibition on blasphemy. In
order to improve his situation, he ended his employment contract with the Swiss Embassy
at the end of June 2011. On 17 July 2011, the complainants flew to Switzerland using the
permanent Swiss visas they held.
2.4
In September 2011, the complainants returned to Pakistan, hoping that their situation
had improved. After arriving, they discovered that the police had issued a warrant for their
arrest. Consequently, they left for Switzerland again in October 2011.
2.5
On 9 October 2011, the complainants applied for asylum in Switzerland. On 4
December 2014, the Federal Office for Migration denied their application. On 19
September 2016, the Federal Administrative Tribunal denied their appeal of that decision.
The complaint
3.1
The complainants assert that the State party would violate their rights by removing
them to Pakistan, where they fear for their lives and their bodily integrity because the male
complainant is the subject of a criminal complaint for blasphemy and the complainants, due
to their Christian faith, are not effectively protected by the Government from anti-Christian
violence. The male complainant risks being subjected to torture or other cruel treatment due
to the presumption that he has committed blasphemy.
3.2
Although the Federal Office for Migration and Federal Administrative Tribunal both
considered that the complainants were not credible, they expressed themselves clearly and
in detail during their interviews before the domestic authorities. Although they responded at
appeal to the credibility concerns of the Federal Office for Migration, the Federal
Administrative Tribunal did not take their responses into account, and merely repeated the
Office’s findings that the complainants’ statements were illogical, contradictory and
unrealistic. However, the male complainant mentioned several names and places, and
described with precision his encounter on 24 February 2011 in Islamabad with individuals
who attempted to force him to illegally provide Swiss visas, as well as his assault on 16
April 2011 by the same individuals in Liberty Park in Lahore.
3.3
The Swiss authorities ascribed significance to the alleged inconsistencies in the
complainants’ statements concerning the point at which the male complainant began
receiving threatening telephone calls at the Swiss Embassy. However, the complainants
explained that initially, they had not perceived those calls to be threatening, and that they
had even laughed about them together, noting that the male complainant did not even have
the authority to issue visas. The complainants stated that they only began to perceive the

1

2

The State party’s request to discontinue the communication was based on the information that the
complainants had been missing since 2 March 2017. In comments dated 17 November 2017, the
complainants informed the Committee that they had never been missing. They had simply declined to
reside in the emergency housing offered to them by the canton of Zurich, preferring to stay instead in
the private residence of an acquaintance. The complainants maintain that they informed the State
party of their location in a letter dated 24 March 2017.
GE.19-13276

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