Government releases one of the Saudi Arabian journalists seeking asylum

The Australian government has released one of two Saudi Arabian journalists who are seeking asylum in Australia.

Sultan and Nassar* have been held by the Australian government for several months after claiming asylum. The two men fled Saudi Arabia in October claiming that they had been outed by the government who were cracking down on descenting media.

Saudi Arabia has one of the worst records for LGBTI rights in the world, with people accused of same-sex relationships facing public whipping, torture and lifetime jail sentences or execution.

The two men arrived in Australia on a tourist visa, and told Australian officials upon their arrival that they were seeking asylum. They were immediately placed into detention.

The media, and LGBTIQ+ rights advocates, have been calling for their release, and the Greens recently successfully moved a motion in the senate highlighting the couple’s detention.

Yesterday one of the two men, Nassar, walked free from detention, but Sultan is still being held. THe couples legal representatives are hopeful he will be released next week.

Greens senator Janet Rice has been asking the Department of Immigration to explain why only one of the two men have been released.

Immigration Minister David Coleman takes indefinite leave.  

Immigration Minister David Coleman announced on Friday that he would be taken indefinite leave from his position for personal reasons.

Until his return his duties will be handled by Alan Tudge, the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he looked forward to Coleman being able to return to his position when he is able.

“I look forward to him returning to his ministerial role when he is in a position to do so,” the PM said in a statement.

*The names of the journalists have been changed to protect their identities.

OIP Staff

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