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19 July, 2024
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Iranian wins appeal against Asylum office

Supreme Court slams Asylum office and court for adjudicating case based on Google and Wikipedia searches


A coordinator from an Iranian university, who was refused asylum in the Republic of Cyprus, was vindicated but the Supreme Court this week after it emerged that his case was adjudicated based on a flawed Google search.

The plaintiff, who fled Iran after he publicly supported a failed presidential candidate in 2005, told Immigration officers in Nicosia that he feared for his life after being fired from his job, where he worked as a cultural events coordinator at an Iranian university.

An immigration officer who was assigned to his case had denied the claim, citing that the applicant was "unreliable."

The adjudicator was ill-informed about the events taking place in Iran, given that she obtained information from unofficial sources such as Google and Wikipedia

The asylum seeker took the matter to court where his case was dismissed and then also confirmed by an Appeals court, citing "unreliable" claims on the part of the applicant.

But this week, the full bench of the Supreme Court reversed the previous rulings, saying the immigration official failed to investigate his claims properly.

"The adjudicator at the Asylum office, during an oral interview and throughout the application review, was ill-informed about the events taking place in the country of Iran at the time, given that she obtained information not from reliable or official sources but from unofficial sources such as Google and Wikipedia," the Supreme Court found.

A 3-2 decision by the Supreme Court also found that the lower court failed to consider or even respond to the applicant's claims that the immigration officer had used unofficial sources to obtain incorrect information that ultimately led to his asylum case being denied.

The immigration officer reportedly did not believe the applicant's story after she failed to confirm that Mostafa Moeen, an Iranian professor and a human rights activist, did in fact run a presidential campaign in 2005.

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