The Immigration Appeal Tribunal is to consider the predicament of a gay Russian who claims that if he is forced to return to his own country he will face persecution at the hands of anti-gays. The 26-year-old came to the UK on a six-month visitor's visa in 1991 and has remained here since.
The Russian claims that, although homosexuality is no longer a crime in Russia, gays are persecuted and killed by gangs of youths known as "Remont". He has told immigration officials that despite the change in law even psychiatric hospitals in Russia regard homosexuality as an illness.
The man, who cannot be identified other than by the initial "S", has so far failed in his bid to persuade the Home Office that he should be granted asylum. And an application for leave to appeal to the Immigration Tribunal against refusal of asylum has been turned down.
In turning down the appeal, a special adjudicator for the tribunal said he did not consider there was a serious possibility of persecution.
However, the Home Office has now conceded, after considering documentary evidence from solicitors acting for "S", that he should be allowed to appeal. The man's solicitor Wesley Gryk says: "The Home Office in this country has, so far, been unwilling to recognise as refugees all those facing persecution in their home country on the basis of their sexuality." He added that his client also fears additional persecution because of his Jewish origins.
The Home Office concession that the case is one which should now go to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal has been approved at the High Court by Mr Justice Forbes.