The High Court in London has overturned an order that a gay man from Algeria seeking asylum in the UK should be repatriated.
The Home Office had argued the 27-year-old man, referred to as B, would be safe from persecution as long as he was “discreet” about his homosexuality.
However Mr Justice Collins disagreed, saying that B, who has been fighting to remain in the UK since 1996, was at risk of persecution.
The ruling has infuriated the tabloid press, with The Sun reporting that:
“A FAILED (sic) asylum seeker had his deportation halted yesterday – because he is too CAMP to go home.”
The judge stressed that this case was exceptional, and that he was satisfied that B is gay and would not be able to conceal his sexuality.
A medical report backed the assertion that he would not be able to reintegrate into Algerian society.
Allegations that B had over-emphasised his sexuality to stop his deportation were rejected by Mr Justice Collins.
“It may be, when the matter is investigated and tested, that conclusion could be drawn, although it is highly unlikely in the light of the evidence so far produced,” he said, according to PA.
The Home Secretary will now have to reconsider his case.
Sodomy and “outraging public decency” are both offences in Algeria and carry a prison sentence or a fine.
Gay activist group OutRage! has previously claimed there is a “serious danger” of an openly gay man such as B being murdered by Islamic fundamentalists if returned to Algeria.
B testified that he would be in danger from such groups.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that homosexuality was tolerated in Algeria “as long as it is not expressed explicitly in public.”
There is an active, if discreet, gay scene in major centres of population such as Algiers.