‘Obviously gay’ Ugandan asylum seeker faces deportation

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A Ugandan asylum seeker who supporters say is “obviously gay” is due to be deported on Wednesday.

Robert Segwanyi, 33, says he was tortured and jailed in Uganda for being gay but an immigration judge ruled there was no evidence that he is gay and suffering post-traumatic stress disorder – in contrast to a psychiatrist’s report.

However, Mr Segwanyi’s supporters say he is clearly gay and may be killed if returned home to the notoriously homophobic country.

Last November, immigration Judge Hembrough wrote:”Even if I am wrong regarding the appellant’s homosexuality I see no reason to depart from the [then] current country guidance”. At the time, guidance was that gay asylum seekers could be returned if they were ‘discreet’ about their sexuality. Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that that this reasoning could not longer be used.

It is understood that Mr Segwanyi’s lawyer is to make a fresh appeal for him to stay in the UK.

The asylum seeker is also being supported by Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, who previously accused the UK Border Office of homophobia over the case.

Mr Hancock said: “There have been factual errors by immigration judges in this case. The immigration judge misrepresented evidence from Professor Katona, one of the country’s leading professors of psychiatry on whether he considers Mr Segwanyi to be gay: he does. This needs to be corrected. Prof Katona also considers that he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In fact he says that no actor could fake the symptoms Mr Segwanyi presented.

“Unfortunately in recent months following the death of gay activist, David Kato, things have got more dangerous for gay people in Uganda. People who have met him including John Bosco Nyombi say that it is ‘obvious’ that Mr Segwanyi is gay. This is all new evidence and should be treated as a fresh claim by the courts and the Home Office. I hope that justice can now prevail.”

Campaigner Paul Canning, who has been reporting on the case for LGBT Asylum News, said: “Both UKBA and judges have rejected a Ugandan described by those who have met him as ‘obviously gay’. A highly respected psychologist judged Robert as gay and also as suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of his arrest and torture in Uganda.”

UKBA have ignored their own country guidance to claim Uganda is ‘safe’ to return Robert to. The attitude expressed in the acting UKBA head’s letter is appalling – I submitted evidence from a conference last month that Uganda is generating LGBT refugees. We can only hope that the new evidence fresh claim for asylum is accepted and finally Robert’s case is properly considered.”