[QODLink]
Middle East
Saudi diplomat seeks US asylum
Diplomat says Saudi Arabia terminated his job after discovering that he was gay and had befriended a Jewish woman.
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2010 11:11 GMT

A Saudi diplomat has reportedly sought political asylum in the United States, saying his life is in danger if he is returned to his native Saudi Arabia.

The diplomat, whom NBC News identified as Ali Ahmad Asseri, said Saudi officials terminated him from his job after they discovered that he was gay and was close friends with a Jewish woman. Asseri was the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles.

"My life is in a great danger here and if I go back to Saudi Arabia, they will kill me openly in broad daylight," Asseri told NBC in an email message.

The report on Saturday said Asseri had also posted a letter on a Saudi website criticising his country's "backwardness" as well as the role of "militant imams" that have "defaced the tolerance of Islam."

In the letter, Asseri also threatened to go public with embarrassing information about members of the Saudi royal family living in the US.

According to NBC, the last Saudi diplomat to seek asylum in the US was Mohammed al-Khilewi, an official with the country's United Nations delegation, who sought protection in 1994 after publicly criticising Saudi Arabia's human rights record and what he said was its support for terrorism.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
Part of the joint accord aimed at ending the political impasse establishes an independent National Election Commission.
Rights groups say the US prosecution of terrorism cases targets Muslims and are fraught with abuses.
Local painters forgo experimentation to cater to growing number of foreign buyers.
Cyprus is a tax haven and has long attracted wealthy Russians, but it could become a European energy hub.
join our mailing list