Gay Ton­gan wins refuge de­spite lies

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - JANET FIFE-YEO­MANS

A TON­GAN na­tional who lied about a child sex con­vic­tion in the US and fraud con­vic­tions in­volv­ing false pass­ports has been granted refugee sta­tus be­cause he is gay.

The Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ap­peals Tri­bunal has ruled that his of­fences were “not par­tic­u­larly se­ri­ous” af­ter the over­turn­ing of a de­ci­sion by a del­e­gate for the Min­is­ter for Immigration and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion to refuse the man a visa on char­ac­ter grounds.

AAT deputy pres­i­dent Stephen Frost said the 40-yearold’s free­dom in Tonga, where ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is still illegal, would be threat­ened if was sent back “although there is in­for­ma­tion from the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade that the in­ci­dence of cases in which the author­i­ties take ac­tion ap­pears very low”.

“Aus­tralia has an obli­ga­tion not to re­turn the ap­pli­cant to Tonga,” Mr Frost said.

The man said he had been beaten and sex­u­ally as­saulted in Tonga be­cause of his sex­u­al­ity and his case was re­mit­ted to the tri­bunal af­ter he won an ap­peal against the Min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion. The man had ar­rived in Aus­tralia on a tem­po­rary busi­ness visa in Fe­bru­ary 2012 and in June 2012 ap­plied for a pro­tec­tion visa.

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