A Frenchman obtains asylum in Canada
A French citizen has just obtained exceptional asylum in Canada because the immigration court considers that the French authorities have not demonstrated sufficient will to protect him against threats and attacks related to his political position.
The asylum seeker was granted refugee status by a decision of the Immigration and Refugee Board rendered in Montreal and dated May 26. His identity is protected under the rules of the Commission.
It is rare, even unprecedented, for a person to be welcomed into Canada as a refugee after having fled France, where the State is presumed to be able to assume the protection of its citizens against all persecution.
“To my knowledge, this is a first. I don’t remember a French citizen who was recognized as a refugee in Canada,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr.e Stephane Handfield.
Forced to shout “Long live the king!” »
According to the Commission’s decision, the plaintiff, in this case, was born in Morocco and became known in his country as a top athlete. However, he left to live in France and today only has French citizenship.
In France, he publicly demonstrated against the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI. He claims that he was then tortured during a trip to his native country. Once back in France, he denounced on several platforms the Moroccan intelligence services, which he made responsible for his misfortunes.
According to the evidence submitted to the court, the plaintiff would then have been inundated with threats and intimidating messages, on his phone and on social networks. An anonymous interlocutor would have sent him a montage of pornographic photos featuring him with his wife, threatening to make everything public.
He claims that in 2016 a group of armed individuals attacked him. While one was pointing a gun at him, another would have wounded him in the neck with a bladed weapon, to force him to shout “Vive le roi!” »
Complaints have been filed with the French police for the assault and the threats, but the Commission notes that “nothing has been done to find his attackers”.
“The plaintiff says his attackers were all of the Moroccan ethnicity and he insisted on giving their description to the police, but the police were not interested in it,” the commissioner wrote in his decision.
“His numerous complaints against the authorities corroborate his allegations of persecution in France,” he adds.
Fear for the future
The recurrence of the threats, the ability of the attackers to spot him at home and attack him, the continuation of this situation over several years “lead the Tribunal to conclude that the applicant was the victim of political persecution in France”, specifies the decision. .
“There is also a serious possibility that this persecution will continue and increase,” reads later in the document.
Lawyer Stéphane Handfield argued that even if France had the capacity to protect his client, the French authorities would have been reluctant to do so to preserve their diplomatic relations with Morocco and its powerful intelligence services. He filed several press articles to support his thesis
Complaints made to the French police have yielded nothing, he demonstrated.
“Taking into account all the threats and the attack he suffered […]it appears that the French authorities have not demonstrated a minimum of will to protect him”, decrees the Commission in its decision.
“My client is relieved, especially since this file has been dragging on for several years,” says Ms.e Handfield.