Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh at night.
A gay diplomat at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles has applied for asylum in the US saying that he fears for his life if he returns home.
Ali Ahmad Asseri – the first secretary of the consulate – claims that his country refused to renew his diplomatic passport after officials found out about his sexuality and that he is friends with a Jewish woman.
This would result in him being sent back to Saudi Arabia.
“My life is in a great danger here and if I go back to Saudi Arabia, they will kill me openly in broad daylight,” said Asseri in an email to NBC.
In a letter posted online he also criticised his country’s “backwardness” and slammed “militant imams” who have “defaced the tolerance of Islam.”
Experts say that Asseri must prove that he would face serious danger on his return to quality for asylum. The US government has not commented on the matter.
Homosexuality is seen as immoral in Saudi Arabia under Islamic religious law and has been treated as a serious crime. Penalties have included imprisonment, deportation (for foreigners), lashes, and sometimes execution.