CAT/C/59/D/658/2015

the Ginbot 7 party.1 When the medical director discovered that she was a member of the
opposition movement, he ordered her to become a member of the Ehadeg party, on pain of
having to leave her job. For that reason, she had to give up her job and became a housewife,
while continuing to participate in the meetings of her Ginbot 7 cell and to carry out
information and awareness campaigns on Ginbot 7.
2.3
Her partner was also a member of the same opposition party and, for that reason,
was arrested on 2 May 2012 at their home in Addis Ababa and imprisoned.
2.4
The complainant last saw her partner on 8 May 2012, at a public court hearing. She
was questioned by police officers concerning her partner’s activities on 17 May 2012. The
police confiscated her mobile phone and her identity card and ordered her to hand over
documents relating to her partner’s political activities. The complainant was also struck and
insulted by the police officers. A second hearing of her partner was scheduled for 22 May.
The complainant was not able to attend. On 24 May 2012, she was arrested, interrogated
and ill-treated a second time by the police, who wanted to force her to give them evidence
that would show that she and her partner were members of Ginbot 7. Fearing that she would
be detained in her turn, and without news of her partner, the complainant left Ethiopia with
her daughter on 9 June 2012 for Switzerland, travelling through Italy.
2.5
She and her daughter arrived in Switzerland illegally on 11 June 2012 and applied
for asylum. The complainant was heard on 18 June 2012 and 20 June 2014 by the
competent authorities in respect of her application for asylum.
2.6
On 20 October 2014, the Federal Office of Migration (now the State Secretariat for
Migration) rejected her asylum request and ordered her deportation to Ethiopia. On 20
November 2014, the complainant filed an appeal against that decision with the Federal
Administrative Court. In a ruling of 12 January 2015, the Federal Administrative Court
rejected the appeal. Both the State Secretariat for Migration and the Federal Administrative
Court considered that the complainant had not presented a convincing argument that she
was member of Ginbot 7. The State Secretariat for Migration ordered the complainant to
leave the country by 18 February 2015.
The complaint
3.1
The complainant asserts that she is a victim of a violation of article 3 of the
Convention by the Swiss authorities, who have ordered her expulsion to a country where
she will certainly be at risk of being subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment. She claims that her membership of Ginbot 7 and her
political activities in Ethiopia and Switzerland — where she has participated in meetings of
the party by videoconference — mean that she is in personal danger. According to the
complainant, the Swiss authorities have applied too severe a standard of proof, taking her
statements out of context and not taking adequate account in the hearings of the cultural
background and her state of mental health.
3.2
The complainant also states that, in 2011, the Ethiopian Parliament declared Ginbot
7 to be a terrorist organization. She claims that members of Ginbot 7, regardless of their
level of involvement, are at particular risk and are likely to be arbitrarily arrested and illtreated in prison.

1

2

Ginbot 7 is an opposition political organization, which has been banned by the Ethiopian Government.
It was founded by Berhanu Nega, the founding chairman of the Movement for Democracy and Social
Justice. The aim of Ginbot 7 is “the realization of a national political system in which government
power and political authority is assumed through a peaceful and democratic process based on the free
will and choice of citizens of the country”. On 24 April 2009, the Ethiopian Government claimed to
have foiled an attempted coup d’état led by members of Ginbot 7 aimed at overthrowing the
Government. Ginbot 7 describes the allegations as “unfounded”. In its 2016 report, Amnesty
International stated that human rights defenders and members and leaders of the political opposition
(such as Ginbot 7) had been targeted under Anti-terrorism legislation (see: https://www.amnesty.org/
en/press-releases/2016/06/ethiopia-end-use-of-counter-terrorism-law-to-persecute-dissenters-andopposition-members).
GE.17-04946

Select target paragraph3