The Court of Appeal has dismissed the government’s appeal as to the lowering of the high threshold for the engagement of article 1F(c) of the Refugee Convention 1951 and Davis, Lewis, Nugee LJJ decided that despite disturbing evidence that “NF” had been in contact with known extremists, the threshold established by the Supreme Court was high as established by the Supreme Court in Al-Sirri v SSHD  1 AC 745. The Court of Appeal concluded that that possessing large amounts of terrorist-related material and contact with extremists might amount to “acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations” in article 1F(c) so as to exclude certain individuals from the protection of refugee status and if the person’s conduct was sufficiently grave it could cross the high threshold established by Al-Sirri. NF was a Kenyan who entered the UK as a student to study aerospace engineering, accompanied by his wife as his dependent. He downloaded large quantities of material relating to Islamic extremism and terrorism, and was in contact with extremists. So he was charged with three terrorism offences in relation to those actions. He convicted on one count of possession of a terrorist manual and received a nine month sentence, the sentencing judge recommended his deportation. He subsequently applied for asylum. The SSHD accepted that NF could not be returned to Kenya where he would face a real risk of ill-treatment contrary article 3 of the ECHR.
However, the SSHD considered that his actions amounted to acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations under article 1F(c) and considered him to be excluded from the protection of refugee status. The FTT concluded that he did not fall within the provision in article 1F(c) and the UT upheld the decision. The SSHD granted NF leave to remain owing to the article 3 issues and this case did not concern whether NF ought to be deported to Kenya. The only issue turning on the appeal was whether the UT was correct in holding that there was no error of law in the decision of the FTT. Subsequent to a visit to Kenya in 2013, downloaded material showing an interest in Islamic terrorism was found to be in NF’s possession. The downloaded material included photos of armed members of Al Shabaab, a terrorist organisation and also speeches by three individuals supporting terrorism. Searches of his home revealed large quantities of downloaded material showing an interest in terrorism. He had deleted many thousands of files from his home computer. He was charged with three offences of collecting or making a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was convicted of having a manual entitled 39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad. Continue reading