Gay asylum seeker gives evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee

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A gay asylum seeker from Senegal has given evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee about his experiences of going through the system.

Serigne Mbengue was forced to flee the African country after being tortured because of his sexuality.

The 26-year-old university student arrived in Britain in December 2008 and spent the first eighteen months in various detention centres.

He says he never received a full explanation for his detention.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) decided to drop its deportation order against Mr Mbengue in May.

Campaign group Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary (MFJ) said he was asked by the Home Office to “prove” he was gay in order to avoid deportation.

As is the case throughout most of Africa, the situation for LGBT people in Senegal remains perilous.

Same-sex relationships are banned in the country and the maximum custodial sentence is five years imprisonment.

For the past several years, human rights groups have frequently documented alleged cases of UKBA deporting LGBT asylum seekers back to countries where they face homophobic persecution.

The claims have always been denied by UKBA and the Home Office.

Earlier this year, Home Secretary Theresa May announced a major structural shake-up of UKBA.

However, campaigners say LGBT asylum seekers are still being deported.

A last minute injunction was granted to a lesbian asylum seeker who was due to be deported to Uganda last Tuesday.