Malawian asylum seeker who claimed of being at risk of homophobic persecution deported from UK

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

An asylum seeker from Malawi who claimed he was at risk of homophobic persecution has now been deported to the African country.

Peter George Liwewe, 42, left the UK on Monday, his lawyer confirmed.

Mr Liwewe arrived at Heathrow Airport in November 2004 and was refused asylum by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

His appeals process ended in March 2005 and soon after Mr Liwewe became listed as an absconder.

He was detained by UKBA on 7 February 2013 after found working at a care home in Bolton with false documentation under the name of George Banda.

Upon detention Mr Liwewe gave a witness statement on 18 February, stating that he had been the victim of an alleged sexual assault by a male UKBA officer directly after arriving at Heathrow Airport on 22 November 2004.

The allegations have been investigated by the Metropolitan Police and UKBA.

However, the Metropolitan Police confirmed to UKBA that the allegations did not constitute a barrier to Mr Liwewe’s removal from the UK.

In a witness statement, the former computer finance officer claimed he was at risk of homophobic persecution and claimed that the authorities in Malawi are looking to punish him for the actions of his father in the killing of a religious leader.

“My father was a United Democratic Front (UDF) member and carried [out] assignments for the party,” Mr Liwewe said. “One of the assignments which he carried out together with fellow young democrats was the killing of Hamid Abudu in 2001.”

Mr Liwewe continued: “At the moment two senior members from the ruling UDF called Humphreys Mvula who is the party’s secretary and Gangiyga are in prison with several other democrats. The former President Bakili Muluzi has also been named and investigations are currently under way.”

Mr Liwewe said he last saw his father in September 2004 before he went into hiding with other members linked with the killing of Hamid Abudu.

The asylum seeker’s mother also disappeared in October 2004 and he claimed she was “afraid for her safety” because of the pressure on her husband.

“My problems started as soon as I heard about my mother’s disappearance. I started receiving threatening letters,” Mr Liwewe said. “The first letter I received was on the 5 November 2004. I received three letters altogether and they all threatened me by saying that I should reveal my father’s whereabouts or face what my mother saw.”

“The letters said that if I failed to do that they will reveal to everybody including the church and the authorities of my sexuality. I did not approach the police because I was afraid that if I showed the letter to the police it would be known that I was a homosexual and they would arrest me. Also the incident with my father was connected to high ranking officials in the government.”

Mr Liwewe continued: “I have been a homosexual all my life. I have had one partner in Malawi by the name of Paul Chirwa. He was Malawian. We were afraid to go out together in public and saw each other behind closed doors. My partner and were together for more than a year.”

He added: “I also had relationships with foreign men. We met at clubs and private homes.”

Mr Liwewe claimed if returned to Malawi he has “no chance of surviving” because of his father’s involvement in the killing of Hamid Abudu. “If I am returned I will be arrested and questioned in relation to this matter” he said.

“My uncle has told me that at the moment the authorities are aware of my sexuality.”

He added: “I am not involved in politics and never have been. It is not right that I should be arrested and detained because of my father’s activities. It is not right that I cannot freely practice my homosexuality in Malawi. I cannot even attend church services because of my homosexuality. The church in Malawi is against this sort of practice.”

Those convicted of homosexual acts can be imprisoned by up to 14 years in Malawi.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

“We have changed our guidance to ensure that we do not remove individuals who have demonstrated a proven risk of persecution on grounds of sexual orientation.

“Our position remains clear – when someone needs our protection, they will be given it.”