[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list