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AUS: Asylum seeker

Thu 10 May 2007 In: International News

A Pakistani man seeking asylum in Australia has been denied refugee status. He says he's bisexual and if he's sent back to Pakistan he'll be persecuted. Authorities say he's only bisexual because he's been in detention with other men. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Refugee Review Tribunal alleges that Ali Humayun's alleged bisexuality “was simply the product of the situation where only partners of the same sex were available and said nothing about his sexual orientation.” Humayun told the tribunal that he and his partner – who has since been granted asylum – had even talked about getting married, although this was dismissed as an attempt to bolster his case. Humayun came to Australia seven years ago to study and was detained after he was caught working on a bridging visa. He says he had his first gay encounter before being detained, he also said he once identified as bi but now he calls himself gay. Humayun claims to be the only openly gay detainee in Villawood Detention Centre and that he experiences homophobia on a daily basis inside. “I'm worried for my life if I am deported home,” he told the Herald. “The men in my family, they are really fundamentalist types. Muslims. My lifestyle is totally in contrast to what they believe.” In Pakistan gay people get prison time – anything from two years to life. And under Islamic law he can face lashings or even being stoned to death. The next step for Humayun is writing to the Australian Minister for Immigration, Kevin Andrews, asking for intervention on the grounds that his basic human rights are under threat. Greens senator Kerry Nettle is raising Humayun's case with the minister – she says they've got him locked up in a more high security part of Villawood. “It's like a prison,” she said. “All of the other detainees have been convicted of criminal offences, apart from him.” He was placed there because the guards got an anonymous tip off that he was planning to escape. There are some cases that have set precedents that give him some hope, but for now all Humayun can do is wait. “I am hopeful, but at this stage I have realistic expectations. I don't expect to be getting out soon.”     Ref: Same Same (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 10th May 2007 - 12:00pm

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