Lesbian who fled persecution in Cameroon wins right to stay in Spain

Deputies step in to help Christelle Nangnou, who had been denied asylum for 24 days

Christelle Nangnou.
Christelle Nangnou.

A woman who fled persecution in Cameroon for being gay, and who was initially denied asylum by Spanish authorities, has been granted the right to stay in the country.

Christelle Nangnou, 29, spent Wednesday night in a Red Cross shelter after being shut up for 24 days inside a room for people who have been refused access to Spanish territory at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport.

“We have straightened out the case legally,” said Socialist party deputy Delia Blanco. She and representatives of the Plural Left, Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Basque-leftist Amaiur, CiU Catalan nationalist bloc, Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) and Catalan Republican Left (ERC) parliamentary groups had met on Wednesday with members of the Asylum and Refugee Office and agreed to grant Nangnou the right to stay in Spain on humanitarian grounds.

After she was initially refused asylum, defense lawyers for Nangnou appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which temporarily halted her deportation order.

Speed is vital in these cases, which is why we took an alternative route” Socialist deputy Delia Blanco

She had been waiting for the European court’s final decision, due on Friday, but the group of deputies, together with the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR), decided to act as soon as possible. “Speed is vital in these cases, which is why we took an alternative route,” Blanco explained.

The group met Nanghou in the room where she was being held at Barajas. “She was frightened but calmed down,” Blanco said.

Nangnou believed her life was in danger back in Cameroon, where homosexuality is punished with prison terms ranging anywhere from six months to five years, and lynching attempts have been documented.


More information

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS