Pharmacy owner flees Taliban, has temporary protection visa denied

scales and gavel

An Afghan pharmacy owner who fled the Taliban has had an appeal to obtain a temporary protection visa denied.

The Hazara man from Afghanistan had previously had a request for the visa denied, and appealed the decision.

The man claimed he had a well-founded fear of persecution by the Taliban because of his Hazara ethnicity and his Shi’a faith; to support this he cited violent attacks on his family, including one in which his sister reportedly lost an eye and her husband, who he said was kidnapped.

The appellant had said that in 2009 his father and two of his brothers fled Afghanistan after the Taliban killed a senior member of an agency where his father worked.

The man then took over a pharmacy business which had been operated by one of his elder brothers.

He claimed that Taliban members went to the pharmacy looking for his father, threatening to kill him if they could not find the older man. He also said that on some of these occasions the Taliban assaulted him, in one instance beating him with rifle butts.

He also said the Taliban attacked his sister and kidnapped her husband. The man left Afghanistan in February 2012 and came to Australia.

But the Tribunal found significant inconsistencies in the man’s story, including his account of the beating at the pharmacy.

“At the beginning of the hearing, the Tribunal advised the [appellant] that although the delegate may have found credible certain aspects of his account, the Tribunal had to satisfy itself as to whether or not he was telling the truth and that was a purpose of the questions it would be asking him,” the appeals court heard.

“Taken separately by themselves, none of the concerns about the [appellant’s] credibility… would necessarily be determinative of that issue.

“However, considered cumulatively, these concerns lead the Tribunal to find that the [appellant] is not a witness of truth and the account of events on which his protection claims are based is false.”

The Tribunal disbelieved the man’s claims, including that the Taliban went to his home looking for his father and that they harassed and assaulted the applicant in a pharmacy.

“The appellant was said to have sustained injuries to his right leg and right eye, the appellant saying that he has scars on those parts of his body. He needed hospital treatment for his injuries,” the court noted.

But the Tribunal had pointed out that in his statutory declaration he mentioned the visits to the pharmacy from the Taliban, but did not claim they assaulted him – in fact he had said they “had not used force”.

“There is no credible evidence that the [appellant] or any member of his family suffered harm in Afghanistan and there is no credible evidence as to the whereabouts of the [appellant’s] father and elder brothers beyond being in [a particular province of Afghanistan],” the appeals court noted.

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