File photo. Spain denied asylum to a Colombian citizen. Photo: REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura
The National Court of Spain denied refugee status and asylum to a Colombian woman who had to flee the country after being the victim of economic extortion by paramilitary groups.
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In the ruling, consulted by the EFE news agency, it is indicated that the woman – whose identity was not revealed – left Colombia on January 23, 2019 after being violated by paramilitary groups in the area where she lived.
According to the woman’s account, while she lived in Colombia she had a business that supported her financially. However, she decided to move after being repeatedly extorted by paramilitaries.
File image of armed groups in Colombia. A Colombian woman fled to Spain after being a victim of Colombian paramilitary groups. /Photo: Colprensa
The young woman, according to the document obtained by EFE, moved to another area where she lived with her uncle, who helped her pay for her nursing studies. Some time later, the man was murdered by the same illegal group, which is why the woman ended up in a situation of “vulnerability” by not being able to resume her professional studies and open a new business.
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Faced with this situation, the Colombian took her bags and undertook a trip to Chile, from where she left for Spain. Once in the Iberian territory, the woman filed a request for asylum before the Provincial Police Station of the National Police in Almería, on June 28, 2019.
The young woman submitted the asylum request to the Spanish Government on the grounds that she had a “real risk of suffering some harm such as the death sentence, torture or inhumane treatment, or serious threats against life or physical integrity” in Colombia, reported Spanish news agency.
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According to the document known to EFE, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior rejected her request to be recognized as a refugee on July 2, 2020, so the Colombian decided to appeal to the National Court of Spain for a new opinion.
Referential file photo. Spain denied asylum to a Colombian woman for lack of sufficient cause. /Photo: REUTERS/Sergio Pérez/File photo
Although in the ruling the National Court of Spain recalled the “violence” to which the woman was exposed while living in Colombia, the high court established that there were insufficient grounds to grant the woman asylum.
“Not all extortion or kidnapping for economic purposes is by itself, and regardless of any other consideration, sufficient cause for the granting of asylum,” reads a section of the document known to EFE.
The high court explained that in the case of the economic extortion of which the Colombian woman was a victim, it had no other purpose, so the woman could not be given protection status.
“It can acquire the characteristics of a true protectable persecution when that extortion is a means to procure money with which to finance terrorist activities whose purpose is to subvert the political order,” said the National Court of Spain in the ruling cited by the news agency Spanish.
Referential file photo. The Spanish court did not consider economic extortion as a sufficient cause to grant asylum to the Colombian citizen. /Photo: Reuters
Immediately afterwards, the ruling of the Spanish high court stressed that the case of the Colombian “does not reflect persecution or risk of suffering it, for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinions, belonging to a certain social group, gender or sexual orientation ”.
Under these arguments, the National Court of Spain concluded that they could not give the Colombian asylum since her “persecutors” are criminal groups that operate in certain areas of Colombia, and “they are not state agents,” reported the aforementioned media.
“There are no elements from which to deduce that there is an omission by the authorities of the necessary actions before the criminal acts that make up the story,” the high court ruled.