The journalists have been held in the detention centre for over a month.
The Australian Senate has passed a new motion urging the government to recognise the risk that it is placing on two gay Saudi journalists seeking asylum in the country. The motion was passed by the Labor Party, Centre Alliance and the independent senator, Jacqui Lambie.
The two journalists, using the pseudonyms Sultan and Nassar fled Saudi Arabia after Sultan was interrogated by Saudi authorities. The authorities threatened him to stop working with foreign media, and allegedly outed him to his family.
Saudi Arabia is generally considered to have some of the worst LGBTQ rights in the world. People convicted of homosexuality can face the death penalty.
Guardian Australia reports that as well as senators passing the motion, multiple news outlets around the world, like the BBC and ITN have urged the Australian government to release the men.
Speaking to the publication, the Green Senator Janet Rice, who brought the motion, said: “When these journalists liken their treatment in Saudi to the violence they have experienced here in Australia, it should be a wake-up call.
“The government should act swiftly to reflect the view of the Senate on this matter and uphold the values of fairness and diversity that our country says we stand for.”
The men’s lawyer, Alison Battisson, said: “This motion is an important step to increased public awareness of how dangerous Australian immigration detention centres are.
“I am aware of serious assaults, requiring hospitalisation, taking place on a weekly basis … When assaults do occur, it appears very difficult for the Australian federal police to access detention to investigate.”
Letters from the BBC and ITN to Australia’s immigration minister, David Coleman noted that the two journalists would “fit in very well in Australia.”
And Michael Garrod, the founder of the freelancer database World Fixer, added: “I sincerely hope that your department recognises their considerable contribution to our global understanding of their country and stands by Australia’s promise to support LGBT rights globally.”