For two months, gay Saudi journalists Nassar* and Sultan* have remained in Australian detention after fleeing Saudi Arabia. However, the men’s lawyer claims a clerical error meant only one was released on Friday. Here, just.equal spokesperson Ivan-Hinton Teoh pleads for Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge (pictured) to reunite the couple before the government’s Christmas break.
G’Day Minister Tudge and team,
Sultan* has been in Australian detention for over two months after fleeing Saudi Arabia with his partner Nassar*. The Saudi government made it clear they faced imprisonment.
Authorities finally released Nassar on Friday. Ironically, Sultan was supposed to be released Friday and Nassar was to be released today, pending a final medical (which he has now had outside of detention).
As a result of Minister Coleman’s departure, the outstanding issue of Sultan’s release is now the responsibility of the acting Minister.
I don’t envy the additional burden your office is under. However, I am increasingly concerned with our past and ongoing treatment of a person who sought protection in Australia.
The slow wheels, and now errors, of our bureaucracy continues to have an innocent man, a persecuted man, denied freedom.
He has received a clean bill of health. The department has received character references from some of the most well respected journalists in the world. These references emphasise Sultan’s character and the circumstances that he fled from.
The department has everything they need to release him… and would have on Friday if the paperwork was completed properly.
Community campaign to reunite gay Saudis
We’re calling on the Minister to expedite the release of this man. He shouldn’t face detention for a moment longer due to errors or workload.
The department intended to release him Friday. They should release him today.
Understanding the Minister has many pressing issues, and may not yet be aware of this case, we’ve commenced a community campaign to bring this issue to the Minister’s attention.
We don’t want Sultan’s persecution to now include separation from his loved one for days, perhaps weeks, because of our bureaucracy or time of year.
I keep imagining myself in his position, separated from Chris. I just can’t imagine it.
Please release Sultan.
Ivan Hinton-Teoh OAM is spokesperson of national LGBTIQ advocacy group just.equal.
*Not their real names
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