Persecution of Homosexuals (Algeria)
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France provides asylum for Algerian transsexual who had been threatened by Islamic fundamentalist rebels, and then sexually abused by the police after seeking their help
IFGE News Briefs, June 19, 1998
Gay man whose homosexual friends were executed in 1994 and 1996, and who witnessed the stoning of two gay men in 2001, seeks asylum in the UK after he was beaten and threatened with death by Muslims
"I fled Algeria because the Islamists beat me and threatened to kill me," said Isalam, the Algerian man they are backing. "Being deported back to Algeria would be a nightmare. It is a very dangerous place for lesbians and gay men. People like me get killed. I could not cope with always looking over my shoulder, fearful of being murdered because of my sexuality," he added.
Gay rights group OutRage! is backing Isalam's claim for refuge in the UK. It has written to the Home Secretary, David Blunkett (see copy below), urging that refugee status be granted to Isalam (not his real name, as he fears the persecution of his family in Algeria).
Two of Isalam's gay friends were murdered by the Islamic fundamentalists of the GIA (Group Islamique Arme) in 1994 and 1996. He grew up in a district that was a stronghold of the GIA, where gay people live in fear of beatings, torture and murder. Islam witnessed the stoning of two gay men in the street in 2001.
In 2002, he was found having sex with a man and reported to the GIA who sent members to his house. Isalam was beaten and threatened with death. At around the same time he was due to be called up for military service, and feared that he would suffer the same fate as many other gay conscripts: rape, torture and beatings.
Because Islam avoided military service, his return to Algeria would result in two years imprisonment in a military prison, where brutality is universal and gay inmates suffer routine queer-bashings and sexual assaults.
In February 2003 he fled to Britain and claimed asylum. Later that year, his application was refused by the Immigration Appeals Tribunal.
He is now making a renewed application for asylum on the grounds that he fears persecution, and possible murder, if he returns to Algeria. "Algeria is a very repressive, homophobic Islamic state," said Brett Lock of the gay rights group OutRage!, which is backing Isalam's asylum claim.
"The armed insurrection and terrorist campaign by Islamic fundamentalists poses an extreme danger to every lesbian and gay Algerian. Gay people are targeted for assassination and extra-judicial killing. The Algerian state offers no protection and, in fact, criminalises homosexuality with imprisonment. "Homosexual prisoners are routinely beaten and raped with impunity, both by other prisoners and by prison guards," he added.Ramzi Isalam is one of 3 Algerians currently seeking asylum in the UK on the grounds of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
Behind the Mask, December 2, 2004