A doctor who worked for Al-Istikhbarat, Saddam Hussein's military intelligence agency, and is accused of crimes against humanity has won his claim for UK asylum after a court ruled his complicity in torture was only indirect and not out of choice.
The 54-year-old doctor’s job in the organisation was to treat prisoners who’d suffered torture, in order to make them physically able to endure another bout of torture, or leave them to suffer and potentially die from their injuries.
The medic, identified as MAB in court documents, left Iraq in December 1995 and travelled to Libya, where he worked as a doctor for Colonel Gaddafi’s government, before coming to the UK in January 2000. He filed an asylum claim in 2007, but was denied refugee protection following an investigation by the war crimes unit of the Home Office Border Agency, on the basis he’d “committed crimes against humanity”.
In 2015, he successfully argued at an immigration tribunal he’d acted under duress - then-Home Secretary Theresa May challenged the decision and in 2017 an upper tribunal ruled against him.
“He assisted those who committed torture by providing medical aid to them. He also provided medical aid to victims in the knowledge some of them would suffer further torture. We find he intended to treat the prisoners irrespective of what had happened to them and what might happen to them,” the tribunal stated.
Now though, three Court of Appeal judges have ruled in the medic’s favour, finding there wasn’t enough evidence to “support a conclusion of significant contribution to torture”.
“On the FTT's [First Tier Tribunal] findings [MAB] did not know whether the torture of any particular patient would cease but simply it ‘may’ do so. On the FTT's approach, the only way to avoid complicity in such circumstances would be to refuse all treatment. That would be a perverse conclusion and in clear contravention of a doctor's duty of care,” the summation stated.
Now his residence is assured, it’s likely MAB will return to his career as a doctor to support himself and his family in the UK - in March 2014 his fitness to practice certificate was reinstated by the Medical Practitioner Tribunal, allowing him to resume work after he was stripped of it several years prior.
The Home Office has declined to comment on the case.