Shaheen's escape out of Afghanistan
Shaheen is a 25-year gay Afghan man in Kabul, Afghanistan. On March 6, 2017, his family confronted him was about his sexuality after his cousin saw him being intimate with another adult male. Shaheen was promptly dragged back to his parents' house where his uncle, father, brother and cousin smashed his legs with a leather belt and other objects until he confessed being gay and committing a carnal sin.
The next morning, Shaheen, still reeling from the previous night assaults, was blindfolded by his uncle, and along with his father and several unknown men, and was taken to a nearby deserted area where he was supposed to be stoned to death. After being thrown to the ground, in the middle of nowhere, Shaheen's uncle, showing no remorse, stated, "We must kill you so that we teach Afghan youth a lesson. Make sure they do not become filthy faggots like you."
Having lost all hope for mercy, Shaheen accepted the fact that he was going to die alone with no one in the world who would care or know what happened to him. In a last minute effort right before the first stone was thrown and surging with "do or die" adrenaline, he bit his uncle’s hand and fled, sprinting hard for the next 30 minutes. After losing his executioners, he collapsed and hid and then wandered around aimlessly until finally finding his way out.
He is currently still hiding inside Afghanistan with no friends or money to escape. I wired $125 US dollars to him as an emergency lifeline of support. We need to help him get a visa for Turkey, an airline ticket to Ankara, and support him for the first several months in the new country until he can recover from this trauma. A queer Afghan couple (a trans woman and gay man) have offered to pick Shaheen up from the airport, host him, and help him file for asylum at the local UN office.
Once he arrives safely to Turkey, he will make a video and share with you this harrowing experience (and hopefully his success story). Until then, he is forced to stay in a country that wishes his death. Shaheen's family has reported him missing and is actively searching for him.
Shaheen's uncle wanted nothing more than to murder his nephew to restore their family's honor and set an example so no other LGBTQ Afghan will try to be free and live a meaningful life honoring their true nature.
I have known Shaheen for over a year. I know he is a kind and hard-working young man, who completed his studies in engineering and had big dreams for himself.
This past week as the money in his bank account dwindled, he wanted to kill himself or turn himself in to the authorities. After he contacted me on Facebook to share his story in weeping sobs and say goodbye, I convinced him to live and escape.
Let's rescue Shaheen to show, that despite his family trying to annihilate everything good inside him, that the decent and dignified people of this world stand in solidarity with him. Let's make sure that he escapes safely and that his courage becomes a source of inspiration for the millions of LGBTQ Afghans inside Afghanistan who are criminalized to death and trapped in perpetual turmoil.
As the first public figure to come out gay and campaign for LGBT rights in Afghanistan, I personally know the beneficiary and can vouch that he is gay and has gone through all the hardships that I have described. Shaheen and I have corresponded by Facebook, Instant Messenger, and Skype. I plan to wire the money raised to him via international wire/remittance to his bank account in Afghanistan. Since I am a US resident with a valid US social security number, I will go ahead and fundraise on behalf of the beneficiary.
Shaheen's life matters. Please show your generosity and support. Thank you.
"Hello my esteemed friends. My name is Shaheen. My real name is Sabawoon. I’m the man who got caught being a homosexual in Kabul, Afghanistan by my relatives. They wanted me to marry a woman by force. I didn’t want a wife. They tried to murder me. I hid myself. Thanks to the help of Nemat Sadat who started a GoFundMe page for me, money was raised to save my life. I want to thank Nemat Sadat and all the donors who provided monetary support. I was able to flee Afghanistan and arrive in Turkey. Here I am living with a gay and trans Afghan couple. They have both been tremendously gracious to help me start a new life.
Last week, I registered at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and dream to seek asylum to a western country. I hope to see the day when Afghanistan will truly be a free society where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender Afghans can happily and openly be who they are and live the life they wish. Thank you very much."
Being Gay in No Man's Land by Nemat Sadat
My message for Shaheen’s male relatives (who are still hunting for him and evermore emboldened to capture and shred him alive into many pieces for being gay and loving a man) and to the Afghan government (which continues to criminalize LGBT Afghans with injudicious imprisonment and capital punishment) is this: You think you can continue to get a way with your atrocities because there is a bigot in the White House and countries in Europe that should know better are denying and deporting LGBT Afghan asylum seekers. But the liberty-loving people are on alert and we will always resist tyranny and promote civil society here and everywhere. Troy Garnaut from Melbourne, Australia, who donated to Shaheen’s cause and spread the word summed it up beautifully and brilliantly. "The most marginalized in the most oppressive places need the most help," he wrote on Shaheen's GoFundMe donor comment section.
In the past week, Shaheen was interviewed by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and Freedom House, OutRight Action International, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are also investigating the matter. I have also tipped off the international press and several journalists working for the major news agencies and news organizations have shown interest in breaking Shaheen’s story for their global audiences.
Shaheen's story is both sad and tragic. But he has proven his bravery with his will to survive and with the overwhelming showering of love from great humanists and humanitarians these past couple of weeks, his morale is very high now and I trust he will become triumphant in securing his freedom to restore his dignity, live the life he deserves, and become a shining example for the millions of repressed LGBT Afghan youth who continue to suffer in silence.
I cannot reveal the details about Shaheen’s whereabouts, whether he is still in Afghanistan or has left the country, where his temporary and permanent destination will be (as some of the plans have changed). But once Shaheen is safe, he has promised to speak.
Thank you for entrusting me and believing in Shaheen. With your solidarity, I know we have the power to make the world better. Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.
Onwards and upwards,
While I do not know Shaheen, I can vouch for Nemat Sadat, who started this GoFundMe page. While I was engaged in a job search as a soon-to-graduate Ph.D. in Public Administration, a vacancy was posted for a teaching position in Afghanistan. While researching what it would be like for a gay American to take a teaching position I found out that Nemat was the person who had previously held this position when he "came out," and was subsequently pressured to leave. Thank you, Nemat, for being there for those who will invariably follow in your courageous steps.
hi hope shahen well fine I want help him nemat plz gave me the shahen cantuct number of shahen