LGBTQ rights groups have demanded the release of two gay Saudi journalists that have been detained in Australia. The two men entered the country seeking political asylum from the current Saudi government which punishes homosexuality.
According to the Bay Area Reporter, the two men–who remain unidentified in current reports–entered Australia last month. After claiming baggage at the airport, customs officials asked the pair if they intended to seek asylum. When they said yes, they were taken a detention center.
“It is unacceptable that LGBTI people escaping threats and detention overseas are then confronted with that here,” Just Equal spokesperson Brian Greig said in a press release. “Australia must be a safe refuge for people fleeing persecution, including anti-LGBTI hate and violence. This must also include a fair, efficient, and unbiased process for dealing with claims of asylum on the basis of sexuality.”
The two Saudi journalists have been a couple for 16 years. The government of Saudi Arabia has charged that one of the men leaked stories and secrets to other journalists–including a dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi–that embarrassed the regime of Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Prince Mohammed bin Salman has come under fire for the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey last year. Following the murder, Donald Trump praised bin Salman.