- Associated Press - Sunday, September 12, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Saudi diplomat in Los Angeles reportedly has asked for political asylum in the United States, claiming his life is in danger if he is returned to Saudi Arabia.

The report Saturday by NBC News quoted the diplomat, Ali Ahmad Asseri, as saying that Saudi officials have ordered him back to his country because he is gay and had become a close friend to a Jewish woman. Mr. Asseri in a letter also reportedly criticized the role of militant imams in Saudi society.

NBC said that Mr. Asseri, who is first secretary of the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles, was questioned by the Department of Homeland Security after he applied for asylum. The department declined comment to the Associated Press when asked about the diplomat. A call to Mr. Asseri’s lawyer was not returned Saturday.