Ugandan woman wins last-minute deportation victory
Saturday 29 January 2011
A woman fighting deportation to Uganda on the grounds she is a lesbian won a last minute reprieve last night in her battle to stay in the UK. Her legal team won an injunction against deportation shortly before a plane was due to take off from Heathrow.
Brenda Namiggade, pictured, fears persecution because of intolerant attitudes to gays in Uganda where homosexual acts are against the law and carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. She was already on board the plane when the injunction was granted and she was taken back to the Yarls Wood detention centre.
Gay rights campaigner David Kato was battered to death in his home earlier this week after the Rolling Stone newspaper demanded gays be executed. It featured photographs of individuals it claimed were gay, including Mr Kato, under the headline "Hang them". One Ugandan MP attempted to bring in the death penalty for some homosexual "offences".
The Home Office had remained adamant last night that Ms Namiggade was not gay and had no right to remain in the UK. Matthew Coats, head of immigration for the UK Border Agency has said genuine cases of fear of persecution for being gay are treated sympathetically but that "when someone is found not to have a genuine claim we expect them to leave voluntarily".
Ms Namiggade said this week: "I'm not feeling well at all. I am so broken. It makes me feel very bad. It's really very scary to go back to Uganda."
The United Nations has said people facing persecution for sexual orientation in Uganda should be given refugee status. Campaigner Peter Tatchell has urged Home Secretary Theresa May to halt the removal of Ms Namigadde.
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