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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Israeli Interior Ministry grants visa to partner of gay shooting victim

Thomas Schmidt (on right)
with Nir Katz & sister

 By Aviel Magnezi -

Reversing decision to deport German whose partner was killed in GLBT center shooting, Interior Ministry allows him to stay until further notice
The public pressure has worked its magic: The Interior Ministry decided to issue a temporary visa to Thomas Schmidt, a German citizen whose partner was killed during a shooting at a GLBT center in Tel Aviv 18 months ago.
An Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed in an interview with Ynet that the decision to deport Schmidt has been reversed, and that his new visa will last until his case is discussed and decided upon conclusively.
Ayala Katz, mother of Schmidt's slain life partner Nir Katz, told Ynet that her family received the news in a phone message, but added that they are waiting for a formal response from Schmidt's lawyer. She expressed hope that a permanent solution is soon to come.
"We have been through enough," she said. "We wish Thomas to continue with his life."
Thomas has been living in Israel on a temporary resident status for the past six years. In August 2009, his partner Katz was murdered in a shooting attack on the Tel Aviv brach of the GLBT Association, called Bar-Noar, where Katz served as a counselor.
This past Sunday the Interior Ministry informed Schmidt that he must leave Israel by the end of the month. Katz's family members, who have adopted Schmidt as one of their own, refused to accept the decision.
"I have lost a son, I don't want to lose Thomas as well," Ayala Katz said.


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