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Political Reasons Block US Asylum for Gay Saudi Diplomat

Political Reasons Block US Asylum for Gay Saudi Diplomat

A gay Saudi diplomat has been denied US asylum in what observers believe is a political move.

Arab news website Rasheed’s World quotes a Saudi dissident living in Washington DC Ali al-Ahmed:

“This was a political decision by the Obama administration, who are afraid of upsetting the Saudis. His initial interview with [the Department for Homeland Security (DHS)] was very positive, but then they came back and grilled him for two days after they found out that he had worked in the public prosecutor’s office in Saudi Arabia.”

“He had been an inspector to make sure that judicial punishments, such as lashings, were carried out within the law—not more, not less. They then accused him of participating in a form of torture,” explained Ahmed.

Ali Ahmed Asseri was the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. It was reported last year that he told US officials that his diplomatic passport was not renewed after Saudi officials discovered him going to gay bars and that he was close friends with a Jewish woman. He had also posted a critical note on a Saudi website, it was reported, and threatened to make public embarrassing information on members of the Saudi royal family living in the US.

Last year Ally Bolour, his lawyer, told NBC that other Saudis had been granted asylum by the US on grounds of sexual orientation, but Asseri’s case was unusual because of his diplomatic status. Another gay Saudi asylum case was approved quickly in Dallas in September this year.

“It’s very difficult to comment on an asylum case without knowing the specific facts, but Saudi Arabia is certainly a very dangerous place for gay men and we hope that the US government would not remove any LGBT person to a country that routinely violates LGBT people’s human rights,” said Victoria Neilson, legal director of Immigration Equality, a national organization fighting for equality under US immigration law for LGBT individuals.

Only last month, according to a news brief published by the Emirates website 24 / 7, 20 gay men were arrested in Saudi Arabia during a wedding celebration, and more than 200 other “wanted persons were also seized.”

The news comes at the same time that the White House has announced that a new federal working group tasked with a system-wide review of pending deportations will include an LGBT liaison, DHS executive secretary Philip A. McNamara. However,  the report says that this will be solely to oversee cases involving same-sex binational couples. They are denied equal citizen sponsorship rights under the Defense of Marriage Act.

The liaison will reportedly not cover asylum cases, and there has also been disquiet over the treatment of other deportation cases not involving couples, particularly those of young LGBT who might qualify under a DREAM Act. The movement in support of that has many young LGBT in its leadership.

There are also significant issues with the mistreatment of LGBT people in detention. At the end of last month, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) filed more complaints with DHS of inhuman, degrading and in some cases life-threatening treatment of LGBT detainees.

The NIJC had this to say:

Having a member of the working group who understands the dynamics of LGBT families is definitely a positive first step, but it is only the first step. The process for review of all 300,000 cases has not yet begun and in the meantime, individuals continue to be separated from their families on a daily basis. We hope the working group will develop a fair and transparent system that facilitates the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in favor of both same-sex binational couples and LGBT individuals facing persecution in their home countries.

Ali al-Ahmed said that the gay Saudi asylum seeker Asseri is planning to appeal the decision, and that this process could extend for several years.


Related posts:

More Complaints on Treatment of LGBT Refugee and Immigrant Detainees

Woman Sentenced to 10 Lashes For Driving in Saudi Arabia

Anti-Jewish, Anti-Gay Saudi Curriculum Taught to Young British Muslims

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3:03PM PST on Nov 21, 2011


dirty affair

(the politics, I mean).

1:50PM PST on Nov 15, 2011

Anti-Gay Obama.....and gays still support this pig!

8:12PM PST on Nov 14, 2011

John D, I am an atheist too (just so you know where I'm coming from) but I want to know why you are calling Gillian a liar? There are indeed Sharia law zones in MOST countries in Europe, zones where the government let's the Moslems practice sharia law within their own community and the community respects these sharia courts as having the full force of law. Of course, should a Moslem break the countries laws they are brought to regular courts, but the governments of Europe have definitely caved in to religious extremism and allowed Sharia courts to operate within their cities. It's outrageous and disgucting, but they gave in and let it happen. Google it yourself and stop calling Gillian a liar.

6:38PM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Thanks for the info

5:47PM PST on Nov 14, 2011


8:30AM PST on Nov 13, 2011

Given that Obama is a Muslim this works fine for him.

5:06PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

John D still hiding behind his 'protective' cushion - nothing of note to say either.

2:51PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Gillian M

"You remind me of the KKK or the Westboro Baptist Church, narrow minded self important bigot"

You are clearly the only bigot around here. I suppose you're a Zionist too.

2:11PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Thank you President Obama -another example of your spineless lack of knowing how to diplomatically save another person- especially one in the diplomatic community. Do you have any administration at all?

12:14AM PST on Nov 12, 2011

thanks for sharing.

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