An Italian teacher working in the North African country of Eritrea has been deported for his sexuality.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) reported that Paolo Mannina was working as a literature professor in an Italian school located in the capital city of Asmara.
Authorities reportedly forced the professor from his job and made him leave the country without offering an official explanation.
After an inquiry by the Italian ambassador in Asmara Dr. Marcello Fondi, authorities accused the professor of being a ‘dangerous individual who is potentially destabilizing to the moral order and public of the country.’
According to ILGA, Eritrea does not mention sexual orientation in its contracts with Italian schools operating in the country.
Italian organization Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti submitted a statement to ILGA, informing that the Eritrean ambassador to Italy maintains that ‘any foreigner present in Eritrea has the obligation to respect the local customs and traditions and, even more so, the provisions of law prohibiting homosexual relations.’
Homosexual acts in Eritrea are illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison.
According to Certi Diritti, Mannina signed a waiver to his employment contract when he was expelled from the country, but also attached a note saying he left because he feared for his safety. The teacher, originally from Palermo, married his Chilean partner in Spain in 2008.
ILGA demands an immediate intervention ‘to clarify what happened with the Eritrean authorities and take measures to protect homosexual persons who may find themselves in similar situations’.
Secretary of Certi Diritti Yuri Guiana released a statement saying: ‘We thank the Foreign Ministry for convening the Eritrean Ambassador and we hope that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will insist on a formal explanation for the behavior of Eritrea, since to expel a citizen of the Italian State employed in Eritrea without an official reason is seriously detrimental not only to the dignity of the citizen affected by the measure, but to the Italian State as well.’