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soldiers, who took him to an unknown site in Luanda, where he was beaten. He
was then forced to take the soldiers to the family home so that they could
arrest his father. At the house he managed to escape while the soldiers were
momentarily distracted. On 19 February 1997, he left the country on a
borrowed passport issued to the son of one of his father's friends and went to
Italy. He arrived in Switzerland on 24 February 1997.
That same day, the author submitted an application for asylum to the
Refugee Registration Centre in Geneva (CERA). On 2 June 1997, the Federal
Office for Refugees (ODR) rejected the application and ordered his expulsion,
finding that the author's statements did not meet the plausibility criteria
laid down in article 12 (a) of the Federal Asylum Act. The Office also said
there was no evidence to suggest that the author would be specifically and
seriously likely, in the event of a return to his country, to be subjected to
torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
The author appealed against this decision before the Commission de
recours en matière d'asile (CRA), which rejected the appeal in a decision
dated 16 July 1997. The Commission found that the author had not shown that
his return to his country of origin would put him in danger. It added that
the author was young, in good health and, according to his own statements,
capable of going back to live in Luanda, since he had already lived there and
could count on his family for support.
The complaint
The author says that he is still on the wanted list because of the video
cassette and fears for his physical and mental health if sent home. He says
that he is part of the Bakongo ethnic minority, and that CRA itself has
acknowledged that members of that group are exposed to some danger.
The State party's observations on the admissibility and merits
of the communication
On 16 October 1997 the Committee, through its Special Rapporteur
forwarded the communication to the State party for its observations.
In a reply dated 15 December 1997, the State party indicated that the
author had exhausted domestic remedies. The communication could thus be
considered on its merits.
The author's main point, i.e. his arrest after coming into possession of
a video cassette showing a scene in which soldiers plunged his hand into
boiling water, had not been consistently related at the two hearings on his
application, at CERA and before the Cantonal authorities. His accounts were
vague or contradictory as regards both the origin of the video cassette and
the way in which it was supposed to have been filmed or what precisely it
The author said that the soldiers had not asked him who the video
cassette was for. There again his story was not credible. Experience
unfortunately showed that, as a rule, people arrested in such cases were

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