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Celebs team up for heartbreaking cause

More than a dozen high-profile Australians, including Susie Youssef and Kat Stewart, have called for the release of a gay refugee being detained in Australia.The #Freedom4Ali campaign — which features Spider-Man and Crazy Rich Asians star Remy Hii and Aussie film and TV icons Brooke Satchwell and Bruce Spence — calls for Australians to sign…

More than a dozen high-profile Australians, including Susie Youssef and Kat Stewart, have called for the release of a gay refugee being detained in Australia.

The #Freedom4Ali campaign — which features Spider-Man and Crazy Rich Asians star Remy Hii and Aussie film and TV icons Brooke Satchwell and Bruce Spence — calls for Australians to sign a petition and join the movement to free Ali, who fled from the Middle East after being stabbed when he was caught with his lover.

Benjamin Law, Randy, Anthony Brandon Wong and many others also feature in the powerful new video telling Ali’s story.

For the past eight years, the Middle Eastern man has suffered in immigration detention after he fled from his homeland — where homosexuality is an offence.

After Ali and his lover Sayed were caught together one night, he was stabbed with a knife in the back by Sayed’s male relatives while walking home.

When the men who attacked him realised Ali had survived the attack, the local militia became involved and began threatening his family.

A relative helped Ali leave his homeland and after many years of hiding in other countries, he fled to Australia with the belief he would be safe here.

He was instead locked up.

“Now the Immigration Minister has refused to even look at my claim as a gay man fleeing life-threatening violence,” the stars say in the video, quoting Ali.

“After that, my case manager said ‘There is nothing for you here. Do you want to go back home?’. I said ‘I can’t go home. I’ll be killed’.”

Director Principal of Human Rights For All and Ali’s lawyer, Alison Battisson, said her client had a sister living in Australia who could support him, but the Minister had so far refused to consider his claim.

“Inside detention, Ali has no support. To come out as someone who is LGBTIQ in a place like immigration detention comes with the risk of assault, harassment, or worse,” she said.

“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.”

She said her client had sown his lips together mid-last year while in detention, cutting holes in the top and bottom of his lips and tying them with string.

“He was so desperate, giving up hope and not being listened to or understanding why — with no criminal record and coming to Australia to seek asylum — he was not being let out.”

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge have been contacted for comment.

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