Iraqi Military Doctor Wins Refugee Exclusion Appeal

The extremely long-running case of AB (preserved FtT findings; Wisniewski principles) Iraq [2020] UKUT 268 (IAC) has finally been allowed outright, subject to any further appeal from the Secretary of State. The appellant, an Iraqi doctor employed to work at a notorious torture facility who entered the UK as long ago as 2000, was found not to have “committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes”. The same case has already been heard twice in the First-tier Tribunal and this is the third time it has been heard in the Upper Tribunal. The case previously made its way to the Court of Appeal as MAB (Iraq) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 1253 (our write-up: Tribunal told to think again on exclusion from refugee status of Iraqi military doctor).
It is easy to see why the case was considered by the Home Office under the Refugee Convention exclusion clauses. These clauses, at Article 1F, deny the benefits of refugee status to those who have committed very serious offences, war crimes and similar. Given that the appellant had been employed by the Iraqi regime to work at a torture facility and that the UK’s Medical Practitioners Tribunal had previously suspended his licence to practice by reason of his having been an accessory to torture in Iraq, one can understand why officials considered that the exclusion clauses might be engaged. It is harder to see why the appellant was actually excluded or how the First-tier Tribunal upheld this finding. The appellant was a military doctor who did not himself torture anyone. The weakness of the Home Office case is starkly exposed in the earlier Court of Appeal judgment and in this latest tribunal determination. The tribunal has concluded there was not even a prima facie case that the appellant was excluded from the Convention:

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