According to the summary provided by the EASO Courts and Tribunals Network:
The applicant K. M. (Azerbaidjani national) made a request for international protection. He claimed that he is Shi'ite and a member of the ruling political party “Yeni Azerbaycan Partiyasi” (New Azerbaidjan Party, hereinafter “YAP”) since 2004. As a teacher, he was forced to join the YAP and participate in illegal “espionage actions” against opposition political party members, such as thefts, intimidation and other acts of violence. He wanted to leave the party. Later in 2006, he refused to take part in an arson attack. Afterwards, he was threatened in his home by other YAP members, his daughter was wounded and he was shot into his leg. He tried to seek help with local police, but the policemen beat him. In 2012 he was asked to assassinate a member of opposition political party. After this incident, he fled with his family (S.M. and A.M.) to Belgium, where they applied for international protection. The application was dismissed on the grounds of lack of evidence.
They returned to Azerbaidjan where K. M. was again contacted by the YAP multiple times and asked for further cooperation. He described that he was harassed by the YAP members who broke into his shop and destroyed it; in another incident, they attempted to kidnap his son. In 2016 K. M. announced his decision to leave the party. As a consequence, he was again attacked by other party members and seriously wounded at his right eye. After receiving medical treatment in Baku, he learned that he might be prosecuted, possibly in connection with his imprisonment in 1995. The applicants were hiding in Baku for several months before they bribed someone working at Baku airport to pass the passport control and travel to Europe. They applied for asylum in Germany but were transferred to the Czech Republic as a responsible state under the Dublin III Regulation.
The Ministry of the Interior decided not to grant international protection to the applicants. Their action against the decision was dismissed by the Regional court in Hradec Králové.
The Supreme Administrative Court (“the Court”) considered that the key legal issue was whether K. M. was persecuted for his political opinion and if his fear of persecution for his refusal to participate (as an YAP member) in acts of violence was well-founded. The Court took the opinion that K. M. was not persecuted for exercise of political rights, yet, such a conclusion did not exclude that his refusal to participate in the YAP actions was in fact a latent manifest of his political opinion. As such, opinions held about policies or methods of potential actors of persecution fall within the scope of Art. 10(1)(e) of the Qualification Directive. The disapproval of such methods and policies does not have to be expressed publicly. It is sufficient that actors of persecution were aware of his attitude or that they suspected him of holding such opinions. The fact that K. M. for some time participated in illegal activities he later disapproved could not exclude him from international protection on the basis of persecution for holding political opinions.
The administrative authority failed to conduct a personal interview that would provide details about K. M.’s political opinions, his cooperation with the YAP, and why he tried to leave the party. Such information were necessary for the administrative authority to duly assess whether the applicant may have a well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds of political belief. The Court therefore quashed the Regional court ruling and Ministry of Interior’s decision regarding all applicants.
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