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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Libyan lesbian seeking French asylum

Coat of arms of Libya -- the "Hawk of Qur...Image via Wikipedia
Source: ANSAmed

Nessma Faraj, a Libyan girl who was arrested, raped and returned to her family which tried to force her into marriage after she announced on the internet that she is gay, has arrived in Metz travelling via Italy on a Schengen visa. France has authorised her to request asylum in the country. In fact she should have asked for asylum in Italy, the first country where she arrived. She only stayed in Italy for a few hours however, because France had decided to resolve the case using the sovereignty clause in the Dublin convention which regulates asylum requests since 1990.

Nessma's request is supported by 126 associations and around twenty local people. According to Lesbian Coordination France (CLF), the woman has presented document of the Libyan police to the French authorities which show that she had been arrested because of her homosexuality, a crime in Libya for which people can be convicted to three to five years in prison.

A recent report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees claims that it has become difficult for Libyans to request asylum in Italy after the signing of the Italian-Libyan agreement on the return of refugees to Libya.
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