Ugandan asylum seeker freed from Bedfordshire detention centre

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A Ugandan female asylum seeker, who campaigners claim was raped by her father and subsequently gave birth to his child, has been freed from a detention centre in Bedfordshire.

Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary (MFJ) say it’s yet another example of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) attempting to deport both LGBT and straight asylum seekers to countries where they face violent persecution.

MFJ have been fighting against the removal of an asylum seeker who goes by the name of Christine.

Christine was due to be deported to Uganda on Friday 28 March onboard a Kenya Airlines flight, however, it was cancelled with just hours to spare, with the group claiming that lobbying efforts at Kenya’s embassy had been successful.

Christine has now been released from the Yarls Wood Detention Centre in Bedfordshire.

In a statement MFJ said: “This is a huge victory for Christine who has always been determined to fight for her life and the lives of all the women in detention. It’s also a huge victory for the movement who mobilised to stop her flight, demand her release and that Yarls Wood be shut down for good.”

Although she has been released from detention, Christine has a court hearing on 9 May.

MFJ has made parallels with the case of Jackie Nanyonjo, a lesbian who was deported back to Uganda in January; she died in March in the African country.

UKBA has frequently been accused of mishandling LGBT asylum cases.

Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs in March that the Border Agency’s performance was “not good enough” and confirmed it would be split with its work moved back into the Home Office.

The Institute for Government, a leading think tank, gave a cautious response to Mrs May announcement. Sir Ian Magee, senior fellow of the institute, downplayed expectations of immediate significant improvements in regards to “shuffling the pieces”.

Research published last week from the University of Southampton showed LGBT asylum seekers are regularly being asked “inappropriate and insensitive” questions by immigration judges.

One lesbian seeking asylum from homophobic persecution in Uganda was asked by a judge whether she’d ever read Oscar Wilde.