Spain grants asylum to South American gay

June 03, 2004

John Jairo Romero
MADRID — In the first case of its kind, the Spanish government has granted political asylum to a homosexual on the grounds of his sexual orientation, press reports said Wednesday.

Colombian John Jairo Romero, 40, received constant threats and survived an assassination attempt after testifying against three police officers, who were imprisoned for killing homosexual prostitutes.

He had to change addresses constantly and employ bodyguards to protect him.

Romero fled the persecution to Ecuador, where his gay rights activism led to new threats against him.

Romero settled in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia in 2001.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government, which ousted the conservative government in the March elections, granted him political asylum. – Sapa-dpa

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