France to deport gay asylum seeker from Senegal

Tribunal court of Toulouse ordered a gay asylum seeker from Senegal to be deported to his home country despite facing death threats and imprisonment

France to deport gay asylum seeker from Senegal
25 July 2012

A 25-year-old gay man who fled homophobic persecution in Senegal has been denied an asylum application and is likely to be deported.

Lamine, not his real name, was arrested upon landing in Toulouse airport on Saturday for possession of false documentation. He may be deported back to Senegal as early as tomorrow 26 July.

The court’s decisions and procedures are being criticised by local aslym associations.

Lamine left the French Court yesterday exhausted and disappointed: ‘I thought that the France was a country that respected human rights,’ Lamine said to the French gay magazine Têtu.

He fled Senegal to escape death threats. In 2008, he and four other gay men posed for a mock gay wedding photo-shoot for the Senegalese magazine ‘People’.

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Senegal and carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and fines.

Lamine and the four other men were arrested and fined and he stated that he was beaten by police officers who he said also poured boiling water over his arm.

Lamine told Têtu his own family planned to kill him: ‘My brothers and their friends had planned to kill me by burning me alive with tires and gasoline.’

He fled to Gambia but was eventually told to leave the country.

‘Not knowing where to go, I did had no choice but to return to Senegal,’ he said.

Lamine attempted several times to obtain tourist visas for France and Belgium but was unsuccessful. He said he finally had no choice but to obtain false documentation in order escape the danger in Senegal.

Upon arrival in Toulouse last Saturday, the French border police wanted to put him immediately back on the plane. But his crying and pleading finally dissuaded the embarkation crew.

He was then interviewed by French Office for Protection of Refugees and Expatriates who quickly notified him that his application for asylum has been refused on the grounds of insufficient evidence that his life would be in danger in Senegal.

What really astonished the National Association of Border Assistance to Foreigners (ANAFÉ) was that he was only questioned for 15 minutes by telephone.

According to the associations who are now helping the young man, there were several procedural errors in the handling of his case by the authorities. His rights were only clarified to him a day after his arrest; the French border police did not give him sufficient time to read the documents he was asked to sign; and the authorities failed to suggest to him a visit to medic.

Nevertheless, the associations handling his case are not optimistic. ANAFÉ has filed a counter measure against his deportation in the administrative tribunal of Paris. If this procedure fails, Lamine may find himself back in Senegal before the weekend.



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