Tuesday, April 08, 2003
I can see the gay press here getting all over this story...
Two gay men from Bangladesh have asked the High Court in Australia to grant them asylum because they fear persecution at home for their sexuality.
The lawyer representing the couple told the court in Sydney that his clients would be subjected to a range of problems, including the possibility of being attacked by police.
The men, who began living together in Bangladesh in 1994, went to Australia four years ago and applied for protection as refugees.
That application was rejected by the Australian Refugee Review Tribunal, and the ruling was upheld by the Federal Court of Australia.
The defendants' lawyer, Bruce Levet, told Australia's final court of appeal that the couple had already been stoned and whipped for their sexuality and that the local Islamic council had issued a fatwa against them.
Mr Levet said that the Review Tribunal's argument that the men would face no persecution at home if they were discreet about their homosexuality, was tantamount to arguing that Holocaust victim Anne Frank was safe from Nazis in World War II as long as she continued to hide in an attic.
But Ann Duffield, an adviser to Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock, said the government believed "homosexuality is... not a valid reason for seeking asylum under the UN Convention on Refugees".