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Jordan: Refugee arrested in Lebanon arrives in Australia

Following a concerted campaign by several human rights organisations, Alshaima Omama Alzubi (AOA) a 25-year-old human rights defender and refugee has arrived safely in Australia.


Alzubi, who also identifies as non-binary was facing forced repatriation from Lebanon to Jordan on Christmas Eve after being in detention at the Lebanese General Security for five days in poor conditions as well as harassed while in custody. Alzubi was then released and had their Jordanian passport confiscated until the day of their flight on December 30.

Since arriving in Australia Alzubi has seen a therapist, been introduced to a local rainbow community, found a new home, and begun to build their new life in Australia.

“I have survived child abuse, sexual assault, virginity testing, gay conversion practices, forced marriage all induced by my family and friends. The truth about coming from the Middle East and being of the LGBTQ+ community and an ExMuslim is a difficult struggle for many, where our rights to live are stripped away from us. I found strength and resilience by focusing on a safe future for me, for which I am thankful to the organisations and individuals, including the Australian Consulate in Lebanon for ensuring I got to my new home in Australia safe,” Alzubi said.

Background

Alshaima Alzubi’s family is very influential and its influence extends across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Many of their family members work for the Jordanian government and include a former minister.

After escaping from their family in July 2020, Alzubi faced a Yellow Notice for a missing person and a Red Notice issued due to the abuse of the INTERPOL system. In the week leading up to their flight to Australia, Alzubi was arrested and threatened with forced repatriation, put on no-fly list, and had to face another threat of a Red Notice on unfounded charges. Our sources also indicate that their family on hearing of the arrest and their release flew to Beirut, Alzubi was placed in a safe location courtesy of the Australian Consulate and local lawyers which helped prevent any further encounters with the family.

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Amnesty International