File picture. Brian Snyder/REUTERS.

Vienna - Austria's immigration authority apologized Friday after one of its officials denied refugee status to a homosexual Afghan, arguing that the young man does not face persecution because he does not act in a gay manner.

In his written decision, the official noted that the 18-year-old applicant had been fighting with other youths in an Austrian child welfare institution.

"This means that you have an aggression level that is not to be expected from a homosexual," he wrote in the document that was made public by the weekly newspaper Falter this week.

The Afghan's lack of friends was also held against him.

"Aren't homosexuals usually gregarious?" the official asked.

"You are not homosexual and therefore you have nothing to fear if you return to Afghanistan," he concluded in the decision, which the Afghan is currently appealing.

The Federal Office for Foreigner Affairs and Asylum said the official had already been reassigned to a new post in May, after he had issued several problematic decisions.

The office said in a statement that it "regrets the transgressive language in a staff member's decision."

The office also reviewed hundreds of other asylum decisions, but found "no fundamental structural deficits."

However, the refugee support group Qeer Base, which helps homosexual asylum seekers, says that the current case was not unique, and that it has seen similar incidents in interviews that Austrian authorities have conducted with asylum seekers.

"Asylum officials regularly take a line of questioning that borders on the inappropriate," Queer Base representative Marty Huber told Falter.