Some of Australia’s most beloved stars have joined to call for the release of a gay refugee detained in Australia for over eight years.
Known as Ali, the real name of the Middle Eastern man has been suppressed for his safety.
Spider-Man and Crazy Rich Asians actor Remy Hii has joined Australian film and television icons Kat Stewart, Brooke Satchwell, and Bruce Spence in a powerful new video telling Ali’s story.
They stand alongside stars including Susie Yousef, Benjamin Law, Randy, Anthony Brandon Wong, Fiona Choi, and Wentworth actors Zoe Terakes, Kate Atkinson, and Kate Jenkinson.
When he and his lover were found together, Ali was stabbed in a violent attack.
Local militia became involved and his family was threatened.
Ali fled to Australia seeking safety, but instead, he was locked up.
For the past eight years, he has been held in immigration detention, where the refugee says he feels almost as unsafe as in his country of origin.
Now, high-profile Australians have signed on to the #Freedom4Ali campaign, calling on others to join the movement to free Ali.
Alison Battisson is Ali’s lawyer and Director Principal of Human Rights For All.
Battisson said that although Ali has family living in Australia who could support him, the Minister has so far refused to consider his claim to asylum as a gay man fleeing violent persecution.
“Inside detention, Ali has no support,” said Battisson.
“To come out as someone who is LGBTIQ in a place like immigration detention comes with the risk of assault, harassment, or worse.
“LGBTIQ people are often shunned in detention and live in fear of being outed to their families, friends, and communities.
“To date, the Department of Home Affairs refuses to reopen Ali’s case.
“He sits in limbo, as he cannot be returned to his country of origin where he will face violence and persecution.”
The #Freedom4Ali campaign is calling on Australians to sign their petition and join the movement to free Ali.
The case echoes that of two gay Saudi journalists who were imprisoned in an Australian detention centre last year after entering the country with valid visas.
The men, also represented by Battisson, were assaulted and hospitalised during their detention before finally being released in December.