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Straight Muslim man lied about sexuality and religion to avoid deportation

Meka Beresford March 14, 2018

(Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A straight Muslim man has faced unprecedented media backlash after he lied about his sexuality and religion in order to attempt to get his Australian visa extended.

The man, who has only be identified as MAH, is from Iraq but moved to Australia in 1999.

He suffers mental health issues including schizophrenia and has been convicted for over 28 offences including assault.

In December 2016, his visa was terminated by Australian Immigration authorities and Minister Peter Dutton called for MAH to be detained in Villawood Detention Centre.

While there, MAH brought forward an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and claimed that because he had converted to Christianity and homosexuality, he would be persecuted if he were to return to Iraq.

The claims were found to have no truth.

(Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Related: Chechnya refugees too traumatised to tell immigration officers they are gay

However, Peter Taylor SC, a senior member of AAT, felt that it would be best to repeal the man’s deportation because of his physical and mental health condition.

As well as suffering from schizophrenia, he is a recovering drug addict on methadone treatment.

Despite his drug abuse, MAH has maintained employment throughout his time living in Australia and is fluent in English.

He also has a severe leg ulcer which means he is unable to travel with ease and so cannot access surgery.

Taylor explained that because the health issues are “significant” and still have an “uncertain prognosis” then MAH is unfit to travel.

As well as this, Taylor believes that if MAH was to return to Iraq he would face persecution because of his mental health.

“Compounding that complication is MAH’s schizophrenia itself. That is clearly a chronic (that)… has led to cognitive decline, and requires ongoing medication and monitoring, which is unlikely to be available to MAH if he is returned to Iraq.”

Taylor added that keeping the man in immigration detention was likely to “deteriorate” his mental health further.

An immigration detainee sits in a high security unit (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Related: Gay, HIV-positive Russian asylum seeker detained by US immigration

“MAH’s ongoing detention is likely to pose significant risk of further deterioration of his mental health.

“There is the further likelihood that any such deterioration will only compromise the possibility of improvement.

“Together with the acknowledged difficulties that MAH would be likely to encounter in obtaining and retaining health care in Iraq, combine to outweigh the considerations favouring revocation (of his visa).”

It is clear that the man has mental health issues which led him to feel forced to lie about his sexuality and religion in a desperate attempt to avoid deportation.

The lies did not play into the decision to extend his visa.

However, Australian media outlets have targetted MAH and accused the government of “allowing him to remain in Australia despite lying about his faith and sexuality to avoid deportation”.

Other outlets have said that it shouldn’t be Australia’s “fault” that “he does have some health issues” and “wouldn’t be able to get the proper treatment in Iraq.

More: Australia, Australia, deportation, Gay, immigration, LGBT, Religion, Sexuality

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