Words: Steve Brown
Two gay journalists who were locked in an Australian detention centre after fleeing Saudi Arabia have been released.
The couple – known as Sultan and Nassar – were locked in the detention centre in October after fleeing Saudi Arabi due to the country having one of the worst LGBTQ rights records in the world.
The LGBTQ community and activists rallied behind the couple and Nassar was released on Friday but Sultan’s was delayed due to a bureaucratic bungle.
But now, the Star Observer reported that the Australian government has now granted them bridging visas while their cases move through the asylum process.
Lawyer Alison Battisson tweeted: “Thank you to everyone who persisted throughout the campaign.
“Community-led action can make a big impact.
“There are still LGBT+ people in immigration detention. We need to maintain our advocacy to fight for their right to asylum.”
In Saudi, both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal and LGBTQ rights are not recognized by the government.
Homosexuality and being transgender are widely seen as immoral and indecent activities, and the law punishes acts of homosexuality or cross-dressing with punishments of fines, public whipping, beatings, vigilante attacks, chemical castrations, prison time up to life, capital punishment and torture.