Hampshire & Isle of Wight

'Gay' Ugandan asylum seeker's deportation deferred

Robert Segwanyi
Image caption Robert Segwanyi's deportation was deferred minutes before he was due to board a flight

A Ugandan man living in Portsmouth who says he will be tortured because of his sexuality if he is sent home has avoided deportation.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) deferred Robert Segwanyi's deportation minutes before he was due to board a flight to the east African country.

Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock said the 32-year-old was burnt with molten plastic in Uganda, where gay acts are illegal.

The Home Office found Mr Segwanyi not to have a genuine claim.

The UKBA is still considering representations put in by Mr Segwanyi's lawyers and so has deferred the removal.

A spokesperson said: "Mr Segwanyi's removal has been temporarily suspended to enable us to consider representations received on his behalf. If, upon consideration of these representations, the decision to deport Mr Segwanyi is maintained we will continue to pursue his removal as a matter of priority."

Ugandan bishop Christopher Senyonjo and Portsmouth South MP Mr Hancock have campaigned to prevent Mr Segwanyi's deportation.

'Put through agony'

Mr Hancock said: "I welcome the decision tonight not to deport Mr Segwanyi and all I ask is that Mr Segwanyi's case is properly considered, which I believe it hasn't been up until now."

Mr Hancock said he had "grave concerns" about the way the case had been handled and said he had received letters from UKBA containing "errors on the law".

He continued: "I hope that the UKBA will now consider his case properly.

"However it is bad that Mr Segwanyi was put through the agony of thinking he would be deported right up until the 11th hour."

Image caption Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock says he has concerns about the case

A spokesman for Mr Hancock said Mr Segwanyi had come to the UK in May 2010, applying for asylum in July 2010 on the grounds he was gay.

However immigration and appeal judges did not accept his claimed sexuality, the spokesman said.

Anglican bishop Mr Senyonjo, who is currently in the UK, said people who were gay or perceived to be gay "undoubtedly face questioning at the [Ugandan] airport and will likely face harassment and possibly violence from the police, as we have witnessed before".

Death penalty

A spokesman for the Ugandan High Commission has yet to comment.

In Uganda many people condemn homosexuality both as un-African and un-Christian.

In May, Uganda's parliament adjourned without debating an anti-homosexuality bill, which includes the death penalty for some gay acts.

However the bill could still be brought up when the new parliament meets later this year.

In January, David Kato, a campaigner who led condemnation of the bill, was murdered in Uganda. Police denied the killing was because of his sexuality.

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