Search This Blog

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Pretend you're not gay, says tribunal

A gay asylum seeker in Scotland has been refused permission to stay there. He's been told he's likely to be safe in his homophobic homeland provided he behaves "discreetly".

Scotland on Sunday carries the story today, having "revealed earlier this year that Syrian Jojo Jako Yakob was battling to stay here after suffering horrific abuse because of his sexuality and political activities".

The paper tells us it's "now emerged that an immigration tribunal has turned down his request to stay in the UK, despite accepting that Yakob is gay and that Syria criminalises and represses homosexuality".

Echoes here of the British Home Secretary, Jaqui Smith, whom we lambasted recently for saying Iranian gays are safe to be departed back to that horrific regime if they're discreet.

On the Scotland case, the paper continues:

Lawyers for the 20-year-old are planning a last-ditch court bid to stop him being deported. Campaigners said they were in no doubt Yakob's life would once again be placed in serious danger.

Yakob, a Christian member of the repressed Kurdish minority in the Arab state, fled to the UK two years ago after being arrested, shot and beaten. He left his home country after surviving a harrowing ordeal at the hands of Syrian police and prison guards.

He had been arrested for distributing anti-government leaflets. When prison guards discovered he was homosexual he suffered horrific beatings and was assaulted so badly that he fell into a coma. Despite his attempts to start a new life in Scotland, the Home Office ordered his deportation in March and, last week, his appeal against the decision was denied.

The Asylum Immigration Tribunal, sitting in Glasgow, states in its ruling, "Syria criminalises and represses homosexuality. Homosexuals have to modify their behaviour and lifestyle accordingly. We find no evidence that in Syria [Yakob] would conduct himself other than discreetly to avoid repercussions."

It's OK, then, to expect someone to be someone he isn't, and Britain doesn't give a toss about him.

Yakob, says Scotland on Sunday, says he now fears for his life following the tribunal's decision. "I am very afraid of being sent home," he tells the paper. "I am afraid for my life. But I will do my best to win my case and stay in Scotland. I want to stay here, but I can't do anything until I am allowed to stay. I can't get a job, I can't do my computer training – my life is on hold.

"I just want to be happy and live my life. They believed that I was gay but they said it was not a problem to be gay in Syria if you keep your mouth shut.

"But how do you live? That is no way to live. I want to live my life and be free, and I could not do that in Syria."

No comments: