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NEWS

Gay Algerian faces deportation after 10 years in UK

Lover pleads for partner to be allowed to stay


February 23, 2005

Peter Tatchell from Outrage!
LONDON — After living a happy, secure life in Britain since he was 15, a 25-year old gay Algerian, Saad B, now faces being torn apart from his lover and deported to his violently homophobic homeland of Algeria.

His asylum application has been rejected. All his appeals have been turned down – despite the fact that he has lived his entire adult life in the UK.

Last week the courts turned down his request for a Judicial Review into the way his asylum application has been handled by the Home Office.

Saad B is panic-stricken: �I fear for my safety and mental well-being if I am sent back to Algeria,� he said.

Queer rights group OutRage! is backing Saad�s asylum bid. Spokesperson Brett Lock said:

�The way Saad is being treated is typical of the inhumanity of the asylum system. It is appalling the government wants to deport him to a country he barely knows, where his family have disowned him, and where he has no friends.

�If he is forcibly returned, Saad will be at risk of imprisonment by the Algerian authorities and could be murdered by the country�s violently anti-gay Islamic fundamentalists,� said Mr Lock.

Lock�s OutRage! colleague, Peter Tatchell, added:

�Sending him back would tear his life apart. He has established a happy, fulfilling gay life in Britain. It is unbelievably cruel for the Home Office to expect him to return to Algeria, hide his sexuality, and live in constant fear of arrest and murder�, said Mr Tatchell.

Saad B has good reasons to fear being deported back to Algeria:

Homosexuality is illegal in Algeria and punishable by up to three years jail. Gay prisoners face beatings and rape.

The police and army harass and brutalise gay people with impunity.

Islamic fundamentalists target queers for assassination.

Public attitudes are violently homophobic. Honour killings by family members and neighbours are not uncommon.

Saad B has been rejected by his family. He has no friends in Algeria. It would be like being exiled to a foreign land.

Saad B explains why he believes he deserves asylum in the UK: �I grew up in the UK. I belong here. I have no other home to go to and I don�t want to live anywhere else. The UK is the only place I know. I haven�t lived anywhere else since my childhood. Here I felt I was free, alive and safe. I grew up fast and worked hard to build my life here. I can�t imagine hiding in Algeria and leading a �discreet� life, like the Home Office suggests. I�d rather die.

�I have been in this country for ten years, during which time I have enjoyed the freedom of living my sexual identity openly, without the fear of being found out. Back in Algeria, it would be impossible and extremely dangerous to lead an openly gay lifestyle. Homosexuals in Algeria suffer all types of persecution and inhuman treatments.

�Going back to Algeria will expose me to great danger, and reignite the hostility and hatred my family feel towards me. I cannot live discreetly, because I cannot pretend to be someone other than my true myself. No matter where I went, I would be always vulnerable to blackmail, bullying, harassment, violence, rape and torture from the police, army, fundamentalists, vigilantes and my own family�, said Saad B.

Saad B�s partner, Matthew Skelly, is pleading for him to be allowed to stay in the UK:

�I first met Saad in April 2001 and after a couple of dates I knew I was in love for the first time in my life. Without hesitation, I moved to Woolwich to be with him. The past four years have been the greatest of my life.

�I am left cold inside at the thought I could lose my boyfriend. I try to block things out and get on with life as normal, but the constant worry and sleepless nights serve as a reminder that two lives can be so arbitrarily ruined. I pray every night that sense and compassion will prevail; that Saad will be allowed to stay with me in the UK�, said Mr Kelly.

Saad B cannot give his full name as he fears being targeted by the government and Islamists if he is forcibly returned to Algeria.

Saad B is asking reader�s to send messages of support to his solicitor: Mr H Samra, Sheikh and Co solicitors, 208 Seven Sisters Road, London N4 3NX. These letters will then be presented to the Home Secretary in support of his request to remain in the UK. – Outrage!


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