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Preventing the imminent involuntary return of a torture victim to the country he fled is normally a high priority for the UN Committee Against Torture.
At the time of composition, I had never actually seen the Convention Against Torture. On March 20, 1997, having finally gained access to the text of this treaty, I mailed from the United States a restatement and reaffirmation of this complaint, more clearly delineating my charges and indicating my failure to secure a domestic remedy in Denmark or the Netherlands.
The Danish Government claims to have no knowledge of this complaint.
Danish Authorities knew about it in 1991.
UN Committee Against Torture has not acknowledged or processed this complaint or its 1997 reaffirmation.
UDL No. 88-051.481
Dansk Røde Kors
3460 Birkerød, Denmark
31 October 1991
Committee Against Torture
c/o Center for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
This communication is submitted for consideration under Article 22 of the Convention Against Torture. It involves two States, Denmark and the Netherlands, who have ratified or acceded to the Convention and have recognized the competence of your Committee to receive and consider communications of this kind.
As a victim, in my own country, of mental torture involving the use of electronic devices, I have sought political asylum in both these European States. I arrived in Amsterdam, Holland from the United States on 29 August 1991. I came to Denmark on 13 September 1991 and have remained here ever since. Throughout my stay in both countries, I have been subjected to continuing mental torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment carried out by, or at the instigation of, agents from my home country and involving agents of both governments. Though informed of my allegations of torture, neither government has fulfilled its obligations under the Convention with respect to me. I have not received a full medical examination or any sort of rehabilitation. My status as a torture victim is unacknowledged. To the best of my knowledge, no investigation of my allegations has taken place, no arrests have been made, no prosecution has occurred, and no remedy is provided.
Both governments, moreover, have themselves inflicted treatment that is cruel and degrading. After accepting my application for asylum on or about 3 September 1991, Dutch authorities withheld from me all the social services normally provided to refugees, citing my nationality as the reason. They refused to help me obtain the medication that I need to control my hypertension, even though I expressed willingness to pay for same. I had no choice but to withdraw my application for political asylum. Before returning to me my valid American Passport, Dutch authorities required me to sign a paper stating that I had not been coerced. Of course, I had most certainly been coerced. I was given seven days to leave Holland.
In Denmark, I made application for political asylum on 18 September 1991. There was no formal recognition that my application involved allegations of torture. No special procedures were employed. When I appeared at Sandholm Refugee Camp on 18 September and presented my valid American passport, the police at the gate laughed loudly and brutally to my face. One of them verbally attacked me as he led me to the processing building. "Do you have any idea how much money this is costing?" he said, loudly and derisively. " You are stupid! Stupid!" Throughout my stay here, I have communicated to Danish authorities my complaints of past and continuing mental torture, and, as well, my fragile physical condition.
On 28 October 1991, I was summoned to the police post here at Sandholm Refugee Camp. Benny Nielsen, ka., with the assistance of J. Kheir as translator, read to me the decision of 25 October 1991 by the Danish Directorate for Aliens in the matter of my application for political asylum, signed by Mr. Erling Vestergaard. The decision found my application "manifestly unfounded" and denied me any right of appeal. It made no determination regarding the substance of my allegations. On the contrary, as translated by Mr. Kheir, it stated that even if proved, my allegations, including my allegations of torture, would constitute only "light reasons" for granting asylum. Torture is a "light reason" in Denmark.
In accordance with standard procedure in such cases, I was advised that I must move that day from Sandholm and would have to leave Denmark by 12 November 1991. I told Mssrs. Nielsen and Kheir that I was not well enough to seek accommodations that day and not well enough to endure the stress of emigration. I exercised the only option open to me under the circumstances, applying for a temporary residence permit on humanitarian grounds, citing my arthritic handicap and my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I remain currently at Sandholm pending decision by the Danish Minister of Justice on that application.
Given the facts of my case, this process was clearly cruel and degrading, calculated to intimidate and coerce a suffering human being. No further remedies are available to me regarding my asylum application. I am still unrecognized as a torture victim. The electronic mental torture continues and has intensified. The authorities ignore it and are probably accessories in the matter.
Regarding the nature of the torture and the course of events that caused me to seek asylum in Europe, most of my documents are contained in two foot-lockers that are probably in the possession of the Lost and Found Department of Amsterdam's Central Station. These are represented by two tickets in my possession bearing the numbers 65171 and 65172, respectively. My letter of 1 October 1991 to the Amsterdam Central Station requesting their shipment to me has not prompted a response. Both the Danish Police and the Danish Red Cross have refused to help me regain possession of these extremely important papers and other personal effects.
Upon request, I can supply such documentation as I possess and provide further information and details. In the event that I am expelled from Sandholm or from Denmark prior to your consideration of these matters, you may correspond with my former wife in the United States. Her name, address, and telephone number are as follows:
Thanking you and anticipating your expeditious treatment of this matter, I remain
James H. Graf