Fear — and hope — for gay asylum seeker from Saudi Arabia

He sits nervously in an office chair, wringing his hands while crossing and uncrossing his legs. He’s wearing a winter coat and gloves two strangers gave him. He has not slept in days. A small bag of his belongings, or at least the few he managed to take before fleeing, rests next to him.

His eyes are fixed on a small white frame on the bank manager’s desk before him. A friend had sent him a similar photo before: a picture of the pink balloons floating above Ste-Catherine St. in Montreal’s Gay Village.

Abdullah Bentalab, 19, has come to the bank with the hope of opening a new account to eventually deposit a social assistance cheque. But first he needs to answer a few questions.

“Do you have any ID with you?” he’s asked.

Bentalab opens a folder he’s been carrying around everywhere he goes, removes a plastic sleeve from a piece of paper and slides it across the desk. “REFUGEE…

Original published: 2019-02-11 11:00:45 Read the full Montreal News here

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