Gay Asylum Seeker: 'I'd Rather Die Than Go Back To Egypt'
Photo: Jeff Stapleton/CBC
A young man seeking asylum in Canada says he would, "rather die," than go back to his home country of Egypt.
23-year-old Samer Habib has begun the immigration process in Manitoba. Unfortunately however, his passport is set to expire in June.
Since he fears what might happen to him if he goes back to Egypt to renew his passport, Samer is applying for refugee status.
"It puts a lot of fear and it makes me feel like my life is in danger."
Habib became a student at the University of Winnipeg about five years ago and had a student visa. After graduating, he received a post-graduation work permit for his job as an office assistant at the university.
He began applying to immigrate under the provincial nominee program and was approved for the next steps in January, but learned that it could take 16 months for his application to go through.
There is one large hurdle in the way — his Egyptian passport is set to expire in June.
Samer Habib hopes the information in his binder will lead to a successful asylum claim in Canada.
To have his passport renewed, Habib would have to return to Egypt and complete three years of mandatory military service.
"I don't feel safe. Like, what's going to happen in the next few months if I have to leave the country?" Habib said.
Particularly because he is a gay man, he fears his life will be in danger.
"It's impossible to be publicly gay where I come from," he said.
While homosexuality in private is not against the law, other laws regarding debauchery, indecency and prostitution have been used to prosecute gay men, said Winnipeg immigration lawyer Bashir Khan. People found guilty under those laws can face five years of imprisonment and heavy fines.