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Gay Saudi diplomat fears persecution

(JTA) — A Saudi Arabian diplomat based in Los Angeles has requested political asylum because he is gay and close friends with a Jewish woman.

The diplomat was identified Saturday by NBC News as Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. Asseri said he was effectively fired from his position since his diplomatic passport was not renewed by Saudi officials. He told NBC in an email message that he would be killed if he returned to Saudi Arabia.

Asseri was reportedly questioned by the Department of Homeland Security late last month after he applied for asylum. He is making the request because he is gay, which would subject him to persecution if he returned to Saudi Arabia.  

Asseri publicly criticized his country and its religious leaders on a Saudi website, NBC reported.
 

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