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Denmark grants asylum to gay Afghan man

Published By United Press International
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A homosexual from Afghanistan has been granted asylum in Denmark on the grounds that he would face persecution in his homeland.

The decision is a first for the refugee appeals board, The Copenhagen Post reported. It was also unusual because the man could not prove he had been persecuted before he left Afghanistan.

"People normally have to demonstrate they are being persecuted in their home country in order to be granted asylum," lawyer Kare Traberg Smidt told the newspaper Politiken. "They needed to be able to show they had actually experienced problems."

The appeals board deals with asylum-seekers who have already been rejected by the Immigration Service. Last year, the board granted refugee status to an Afghan man who had converted to Christianity in Denmark, a decision that made him an "apostate" in Afghanistan and possibly subject to the death penalty.

The board in the past has argued that homosexuals from countries where they face prosecution or social ostracism can hide their orientation.

"The verdict supports the view that individuals may be persecuted because of their background, in this case that the man is a homosexual, which is so tied into his personality that it is too hard to hide," Eva Singer of the Danish Refugee Council told the Post.
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