Political Reasons Block US Asylum for Gay Saudi Diplomat
“… 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,”
by Paul Canning, November 9, 2011
A gay Saudi diplomat has been denied US asylum in what observers believe is a political move.
“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.