Keeping it in the room: health, happiness and living in Berlin
A court in Berlin has fined the family of a gay man whose family tortured and abducted him, then tried to force him to marry.
The 18 year old, named only as Nasser El-A, in accordance with German privacy law, came out to his parents when he was 15, but his family, who are Muslim and from Lebanon, failed to accept this. They tried to force him into marriage, to ‘put him back on the right path’, before kidnapping him with the intention of taking him to Lebanon.
When Nasser first told his family about his sexuality in 2012, he suffered threats and physical violence: his uncle covered him in petrol and threatened to set him alight, whipped him, and later poured boiling water over him. He told the German newspaper Tagesspiegel: ‘My father said he would personally ram a knife into my throat.’
But after being charged only with unlawful detention and abduction of minors, his father and two uncles were each fined just €1,350 (around £960).
Despite being under the protection of the local Youth Office, and having found refuge with Papatya, which is aimed at girls and young women of migrant backgrounds who have fled home because of cultural and domestic conflicts, his mother persuaded him to return to his family home in the eastern Berlin area of Neukölln, only to be kidnapped by his father. They then tried to take him to Lebanon to force him into marriage, but the group was stopped by authorities at the Romanian-Bulgarian border and returned to Berlin.
Despite his uncles and father not turning up to hear the judgement at Moabit Criminal Court, Nasser nevertheless did not criticise the ruling, saying, ‘I expected that they would not come. I showed my power; at least I have managed to make the matter came before the court. Many do not come so far.’ He added that the judge had ruled, ‘as she sees fit.’
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