Clergy testimony accepted

TWO IRANIAN nationals who had their claim for asylum turned down because of the reality of their faith have won an important legal victory.

The two individuals had sought asylum on the basis that they had converted to Christianity and would face persecution if they returned to their home country.

The two both worshipped at the Tron Church in Glasgow, a prominent evangelical parish in the city. Although the minister and the elders of the church gave testimony that the conversions were genuine, the legal case rested on whether their evidence was admissible.

In two hearings, the First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal, it was ruled that the testimonies were not adequate.

However, at the Court of Session this week that view was overturned.

The judgement stated: “The witnesses have observed many people undertaking courses with a view to baptism and becoming members of the church. They have seen some succeed and some fail.

“They will be able to say that, in their opinion, based on their experience of this individual and many others, the individual in question is or appears to be genuine (or in other cases, they are not satisfied, or not yet satisfied, of the genuineness of their self-proclaimed faith).

“This, in our opinion, is admissible opinion evidence which is entitled to respect.”

The two appeals were allowed, and will be heard again, taking into account the testimony from the church’s leadership team.