Hariri v Secretary of State for the Home Department

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date23 May 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] EWCA Civ 807
Docket NumberC3/2002/2035
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date23 May 2003

[2003] EWCA Civ 807




Royal Courts of Justice


London, WC2


Lord Justice Mummery

Lord Justice Laws

Lady Justice Arden


Abdurahman Hariri
The Secretary of State for the Home Department

MR A NICHOL QC & MR M SOORJOO (instructed by Berryman Shacklock, Nottingham NG1 6DW) appeared on behalf of the Respondent

MISS J RICHARDS (instructed by Treasury Solicitor, London SW1H 9JS) appeared on behalf of the Respondent


This is an appeal brought with permission granted by Ward LJ on 13 January 2003 on one ground only, against the determination of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal notified on 7 August 2002. By that determination, the IAT dismissed the appellant's appeal against the decision of the Adjudicator who had, in her turn, dismissed his appeal against the decision of the Secretary of State refusing him leave to enter as a refugee, and also on the basis that there was no real risk that if returned to Syria —I will deal with the facts in a moment —he would face treatment in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.


The appellant is a Syrian national. The basis of his claim to asylum and of a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 was crisply summarised by the Adjudicator as follows:

"The appellant came to the United Kingdom in November 2000 and requested asylum immediately. He was interviewed the next day and set out the basis of his claim. He said that he personally had never had any particular problem in Syria even though he was a member of the Ba'ath Party, but said he had been unhappy about being required to serve in the army for a third time. He did military service for two and a half years from 1992. He was then called up again for 6 months in 1996, but on 25 September 2000, an army representative came to his home and made a further request that he report to the local military service office. There the appellant complained but this further request to serve in the army, but became involved in a dispute with the officer who was interviewing him, in which the appellant insulted this man and the country. He later learned that intelligence people were looking for him at his home, went into hiding and made arrangements to leave the country because he was viewed as someone who had insulted the President, the government and the country. He said he had not been called up. He thought if he returned to Syria he would be imprisoned for at least 10 years without trial."


The appellant went on to claim that if returned to Syria he would be tortured as well as imprisoned. In paragraph 12 of her determination, the Adjudicator said this:

"With regard to the appellant's credibility, he had consistently said that he was required to do a third period of army service and objected to this. In particular because it would interrupt his work in his business. I accept this evidence about the requirement to do further military service. His objection to it, his dispute with an army officer, and the fact that inquiries were subsequently made about his whereabouts by military personnel."

However, the Adjudicator did not accept certain further claims made by the appellant, not least that his conduct meant that he had fallen foul of the Ba'th Party in Syria. The IAT, for its part, was later to say:

"6. We consider the Adjudicator's findings were adequately reasoned and perfectly sustainable. On the appellant's own account at interview he had no history of political or religious opposition to the Ba'th Party regime. When he raised his objections to doing a third period of military service with the authorities in Syria, he did so in terms of its disruption to his dentistry practice and with his family.

"7. Given that it was not until the stage of commenting on the refusal letter that the appellant had made mention of any conscientious objection grounds, the Adjudicator was, in our view, fully justified in rejecting as an embellishment his claim to have been considered by his superior military officer as disloyal to the government …

"It seems to us that, if the Syrian regime was actually requiring persons who had already served military service twice to do further military service, they would be well used to having to deal with disgruntled reservists. In the absence of credible evidence of a serious dispute, it would be naive to think a superior military officer would attribute to someone who had loyally served two previous stints of military service disloyalty to the government.

"8. As regards to the appellant's claim that the authorities would view him as someone who may have revealed military secrets, again we consider that the Adjudicator was fully entitled to reject this on the grounds that the appellant made no mention of this until the oral hearing."


These conclusions meant that there was nothing personal to the appellant which put him at real risk of serious ill-treatment if he were returned to Syria. The grounds of appeal to this court, as originally advanced, sought to challenge the IAT's factual conclusions as to how the appellant in his particular...

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