Jordanian Activist Held at Beirut Embassy After Seeking Asylum in Australia, Amnesty Says

25-year-old LGBTQ and women's rights defender, who hails from an influential family in Jordan, was arrested by Lebanese authorities before a flight to Australia, Amnesty International says. Amman denies the arrest

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File photo: A protester holds a rainbow flag.Credit: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
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Haaretz

Lebanese authorities arrested a Jordanian LGBTQ and women's rights activist on their way to Australia, which granted them a humanitarian visa, Amnesty International said Saturday, calling for urgent action to prevent the 25-year-old asylum seeker's repatriation.

According to Amnesty, the activist has been held at the Jordanian Embassy in Beirut since their arrest on Tuesday, just two days before their planned journey to Australia. The rights group said "there are serious concerns" the activist's influential family are "manipulating their repatriation."

A spokesman for Jordan's Foreign Ministry, Haitham Abu Alfoul, denied Amnesty's report and told local news agency Ammon that "the Jordanian embassy in Lebanon and elsewhere does not detain anyone at all." Amnesty insists Amman is "actively seeking" the asylum seeker's repatriation.

The activist, who identifies as a non-binary lesbian, was told the Interpol has published a "red notice" for them, which is a request to arrest an individual pending extradition or other legal action.

If returned to Jordan, Amnesty has warned, they are facing forced "conversion therapy" and possible prosecution.

Katrina Parker, a case manager for U.S.-based Secular Rescue, said the activist "has fought hard for over two years to flee their violent and oppressive family, to speak out against punishments for apostates, and to defend the rights of women, and the LGBTQI+ community."

Their family, Amnesty noted, is "very influential with influence extending across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Many of their family members work for the Jordanian government and include a former minister." After fleeing to Turkey last year, the vocal activist's family tracked them down, forcing them to seek asylum elsewhere.

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