A French court has overturned the Ministry of Interior’s decision to reject the asylum claim by a man who fled homophobic persecution in Senegal.
Kept in detention since 21 July, a 25-year-old gay man known as ‘Lamine’ had filed an asylum application which was rejected following a 15 minute phone interview.
National Association of Border Assistance to Foreigners (ANAFÉ) assisted Lamine in challenging the decision which it claimed had several procedural errors.
The administrative court in Paris agreed with ANAFÉ, and annulled the ministry’s decision on 28 July.
After his family threatened to kill him, Lamine decided to flee Senegal and arrived 21 July at Toulouse Blagnac Airport.
After the brief interview with two policemen, the French Office for Protection of Refugees and Expatriates notified Lamine his application for asylum had been refused on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
On 23 July, the Minister of the Interior formally upheld the decision and started deportation procedures.
ANAFÉ immediately applied on behalf of Lamine to overturn the decision in the Administrative Court of Paris.
They noted the interview, which included two policemen, violated Lamine’s right to confidentiality.
ANAFÉ added the examination was rushed, and required more research and verification.
Lamine is now free but will have to complete more administrative procedures to remain in France.
In a press release quoted by French gay magazine Têtu, ANAFÉ stated that ‘this restrictive migratory policy must stop; it does not hesitate to reject the principles of protection ratified by the France, on the pretext of wanting to limit immigration.’
The LGBT Associations which were involved in helping Lamine welcomed the decision by the Administrative Court of Paris.
Michel Mégnin, spokesperson for the local Arc-en-Ciel LGBT association of Toulouse saidhe was ‘pleased with the court’s decision, welcomes the legal support given by ANAFÉ and thanks all volunteers in Toulouse who helped Lamine in a very difficult and urgent context.‘
In a press release, The French Association for LGBT Rights to Immigration and Asylum known as ARDHIS - welcomed the decision and said ‘gay Senegalese must be able to seek asylum in France.
They added that the ‘duty of the country to allow the right to everyone to demand an asylum application under conditions consistent with respect for human rights and freedom’.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Senegal and carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and fines.