The diplomat, Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, has informed U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials that Saudi officials have refused to renew his diplomatic passport and effectively terminated his job after discovering he was gay and was close friends with a Jewish woman. [NBC News]
If he is forced to go back to Saudi Arabia — as Saudi officials are demanding — Asseri says he could face political persecution and even death.
“My life is in a great danger here and if I go back to Saudi Arabia, they will kill me openly in broad daylight,” Asseri said Saturday in an email to NBC.
Asseri and his lawyer said that the Saudi diplomat was questioned by a Department of Homeland Security official in Los Angeles on Aug. 30 after formally applying for asylum on the grounds that he is a member of a “particular social group” — gays — that would subject him to persecution if he returns to his home country.