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Key facts of the case

The complainant, an Iranian national, applied for international protection on 28 October 2015 following his entry into the Federal territory of Austria. He brought forward to be Christan and that based on that he would be persecuted in Iran in case he returns. The Federal Asylum Authority and later on also the Federal Administrative Court denied international protection and decided that deportation to Iran was permissible. In essence, they argued that the applicants conversion to Christian belief was fictitious and served the sole purpose of obtaining asylum in Austria. The complainant had deceived the Asylum Authority in the first interrogation with regards to his true identity and origin, had submitted forged documents and was unable to provide any specific information on the persecution in Iran. The Iranian national appealed against this decision at the Constitutional Court, mainly arguing that there was no oral hearing in front of the Federal Administrative Court. 

The key legal question raised by the Court

Is a oral hearing required in case an asylum decision on the existence of a ground for asylum essentially depends on the credibility of the asylum seeker in relation to his internal attitude (in this case his religious beliefs)?

Outcome of the case

The Constitutional Court found that the appellant’s right enshrined in Art 47 (2) CFR was violated. A Court decision on the existence of a ground for asylum essentially depends on the credibility of the asylum seeker in relation to his internal attitude, namely his religious beliefs. For the assessment of such a personal belief, Art 47 (2) CFR requires that the court draws up its own impression directly at an oral hearing (see in this connection ECHR 29.10.1991, case Helmers, Appl. 11.826 / 85, Z37, on the requirement of public hearing in appeal proceedings, further mwN VfSlg 19632/2012). As in this case no oral hearing took place at the Court in this case, the appellant was violated in his constitutionally guaranteed right under Article 47 (2) of the CFR. The Constitutional Court therefore overturned the decision by the Federal Administrative Court.