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Gay rugby player from Kenya in asylum bid 'limbo'

Kenneth Macharia, member of Bristol Bisons RFC Image copyright Phillip Rogerson
Image caption Kenneth Macharia says he will be persecuted for being gay if he is deported to Kenya

A gay rugby player who is fighting deportation to Kenya says he is "in limbo" due to the delay in his case being decided.

Bristol Bisons player Kenneth Macharia is claiming asylum, saying he fears violence in Kenya because he is gay.

He has been ineligible to work for nearly a year since the Home Office began considering his case.

Mr Macharia, from Glastonbury, is now calling on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to "sort things out".

He described the delay as "extremely hostile" and believes it is designed to force him to withdraw his application.

Under present rules, asylum seekers are only allowed to work if they have waited more than a year for a decision on their application.

Mr Macharia was granted bail from an immigration centre in November after more than 100,000 people signed a petition to stop him from being deported.

'Really difficult'

"Before I started this process I was thinking the UK is a champion of human rights," he said.

"But I was surprised by the treatment I received. It was extremely hostile. They do everything they can to make it really difficult to apply for asylum."

Mr Macharia said Mr Javid should "really show the UK does live up to what it claims to be as a country that protects human rights".

The Home Office said: "This government has a proud record of providing protection for asylum seekers fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"All available evidence is carefully and sensitively considered... all decisions on claims based on sexual orientation are reviewed by a second experienced caseworker."

Homosexual acts are punishable by up to 14 years in prison in Kenya.

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