The Courier-Mail

Gay Tongan wins refuge despite lies

- 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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