Lebanese AIDS Patient Eligible for U.S. Asylum

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, Mar. 8

A gay man with AIDS who fled Lebanon in 1987 is eligible for political asylum because he could face persecution, and even death, from an Islamic militia, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The Lebanese government’s hostility toward homosexuality, and attacks on gay men by Hezbollah paramilitary forces, justified Nasser Mustapha Karouni’s fear that he would be targeted if deported to Lebanon, said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

U.S. immigration authorities have acknowledged for more than a decade that persecution on the basis of sexual orientation can be grounds for political asylum. In Karouni’s case, however, government lawyers argued that he had failed to show a reasonable fear of persecution.

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