Calls to release gay journalists seeking asylum in Australia

LGBTI advocates have called on Immigration Minister, David Coleman (pictured), to immediately grant bridging visas to a gay Saudi couple who have sought asylum in Australia.

Spokesperson for national LGBTI advocacy group just.equal, Brian Greig OAM, said the couple have been detained for several weeks after fleeing Saudi Arabia following political harassment and threats of being publicly outed by authorities.

Saudi Arabia still applies the death penalty to homosexuality.

The men allege that while in detention here in Australia they have been subject to threats of violence from other detainees and intimidated by guards.

Both men are journalists and one has been accused of leaking negative stories against the Saudi regime, which he denies.

Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, one of the men said: “We ran away from being detained arbitrarily and jailed for no reason, only to arrive in Australia and find ourselves in jail here.”

Brian Greig said it was not unlawful to seek asylum in Australia and the couple should be released into the community on bridging visas until their claim can be assessed.

“The Morrison Government needs to understand that anti-LGBTI prejudice in some parts of the world is extreme and life threatening.”

“Corporal and capital punishment still apply in several Islamic nations including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Indonesia, and there is growing hostility and violence against LGBTI people in Russia, Georgia, Chechnya, the Ukraine, Poland and several African nations including Nigeria and Uganda among others.”

“Australia must be a safe refuge for people fleeing persecution, including anti-LGBTI hated and violence.”

“This must also include a fair, efficient and unbiased process for dealing with claims of asylum on the basis of sexuality.”

“It is unacceptable that LGBTI people escaping threats and detention overseas are then confronted with that here.”

“All they are asking for is that their claims are taken seriously and that the Australian ethos of a ‘fair go’ is applied to them like everyone else,” Greig said.

Source: Media Release


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