Britain Defers Deportation of 'Gay Man' to Uganda after Petition

Published: August 18, 2011

A Ugandan man in Britain who says he is gay and a victim of torture has had his deportation from the UK deferred at the last minute after fears that he could face persecution on his arrival back.

A human rights organisation had petitioned Kenya Airways to stop the deportation which was due to take place at 20:00 on Thursday at Heathrow airport, after the Home Office said he had no right to remain in the country.

"Robert’s removal was deferred by the Home Office in a message to his lawyer less than a hour before he was due to be flown to Kampala. An earlier request to a judge for an injunction to stop the removal was refused," his campaigners said on Thursday.

"This is a battle victory – but we have not won the war. The Home Office can still refuse to accept the fresh evidence and his asylum claim and issue new removal instructions. However his supporters will fight this and will argue that Robert’s mental state and his post-traumatic stress means he should be released from detention, as well as that his claim must be given a proper hearing."

Campaigners and lawyers had argued that Segwanyi would face harsh measures, including ‘mob justice’ if he is sent back to his homeland.

Kerry Ann Akers of the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies told the Huffington Post UK that Uganda’s lesbian and gay community ‘are under constant threat, not just from the implementation of official legislation, but from the unofficial extrajudicial ‘mob justice’ and community led initiatives which take the form of witch hunts’.

Segwanyi arrived in Britain in June 2010, claiming he had been the victim of imprisonment and torture as a result of his sexual persuasion in his native Uganda. He applied for asylum a fortnight later. However, The UK Border Agency judge did not accept Segwanyi’s plea.

Judge Hembrough was not convinced of Segwanyi’s sexuality, nor that Uganda is an unsafe country for a homosexual to reside in.

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