In 2017, we made a strategic intervention to the Swiss Federal Criminal Court on behalf of Ms Nekane Txapartegi. Spain accused Nekane of being part of the ETA and sought her extradition for a criminal conviction, which Nekane claimed was made under torture; and Nekane filed for asylum in Switzerland. Nevertheless, the Swiss courts rejected her evidence of torture, including an IP evaluation, as unreliable. The IRCT, in consultation with IFEG, submitted a legal brief in response, arguing for the need to consider evidence of torture and its consequences on victims, including particularly victims of sexual torture, and the reliability of evaluations conducted based on the Istanbul Protocol.
While Spain subsequently withdrew its extradition request, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court (considering extradition) and the Swiss Federal Administrative Court (considering asylum) both rendered strong opinions that there was substantial evidence of torture; and the courts reprimanded the Swiss authorities for not investigating Nekane’s claims more thoroughly. The Swiss Federal Administrative Court in particular found that the Swiss asylum authorities had failed to fully investigate Nekane’s case and thus violated their legal obligations. According to Nekane’s lawyer, our work “contributed to highly important dicta concerning torture allegations of an EU national (something that would otherwise have been unimaginable).”