Court rejects asylum seeker’s gay persecution claims

A Nigerian man, who claimed he was persecuted by Islamist extremists in his home country because he is a homosexual, has lost an action in the High Court against a decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal denying him asylum.

The man, who cannot be identified, had claimed that his love partner and his mother were killed in two separate homophobic attacks. The High Court heard the tribunal had found the man not to be credible.

He claimed he had been having sex with his partner in his house when he started hearing loud Islamic chanting outside his bedroom window.

The man, aged in his 30s, claimed an angry mob started throwing stones at his window before setting his house on fire but he had managed to escape through a back window. His partner later died in the fire.

He claimed that after he had escaped, he had met a local Catholic priest who had arranged for him to travel in the back of a truck without paying a fee of passage.

He had alleged his mother had died from injuries suffered when her house had also been set on fire because of his homosexuality.

He had told the tribunal that he had travelled by road through Libya and then by sea for several days before arriving in Ireland, where he had unsuccessfully applied for asylum.

An appeal to that decision had later been rejected and he had applied to the High Court for a judicial review.

Ms Justice Carmel Stewart said in a reserved judgment that the tribunal had found it incredible that the man would ever have held hands or showed, as he had said, affection to his partner in public in an area governed by Sharia law and where homosexuals are killed by stoning.

She said the tribunal had also found that the man’s belief that his mother died in a fire due to his sexuality was based on mere speculation, and no evidence of his partner’s and mother’s deaths had been given to the tribunal.

Nigerian law criminalised homosexuality with offenders facing up to 14 years imprisonment, and the tribunal had to assess whether the applicant was in fact a homosexual.

Judge Stewart said the applicant had submitted a letter from a group which helps members of the LGBT community in Ireland but the tribunal had found the letter was not sufficient evidence to establish he was a homosexual.

Refusing the Nigerian man’s application, the judge said she was satisfied the tribunal acted lawfully in giving its decision.


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