Sunday, September 12, 2010
A high-ranking diplomat in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Los Angeles told NBC News that he had requested political asylum in the United States.
The man's name was reported by the NBC news organization. As a practice, however, this blog will not publish the names of persons who are seeking political asylum because there is always a risk of either (1) the person not receiving political asylum, in which case publishing his or her name may lead to later problems or (2) if political asylum is granted, publishing the name may lead to later acts of retaliation against the person or family members. So, as a practice, we will not publish those names even though the name may be already published elsewhere..
In this case, the diplomat told NBC news that (1) he was gay and (2) was close friends with a Jewish woman.
If the man is returned to Saudi Arabia, he said he feared political persecution and even death. He applied for political asylum based on membership in a particular "social group" (here, being gay). The United States and other nations (such as Canada and the United Kingdom, for example) already recognize sexual orientation asthe basis for political asylum if it there is a well-founded fear of persecution.
On the topic of asylum based on sexual orienation, click here for a recent case development from the United Kingdom Supreme Court, That case concerns gay men from Iran and Cameroon. It includes a great number of case citations on the issue, including cases decided by courts in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and South Africa.