London: Labour MP to raise case of Ugandan lesbian asylum seeker with Home Office

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Labour MP John Cryer has intervened in the case of a lesbian asylum seeker living in east London who is facing deportation to Uganda.

Campaigners say Flora Seggane fled the country in 2002 and moved to the UK on a two-year working visa after being disowned by her family because of her sexual orientation.

The 55-year-old claims her family previously tried to “cure” her with medicines and she was forced into marriage at the age of 18, enduring 20 years of abuse at the hands of her husband.

Ms Seggane, who lives in Leyton, east London, is currently being held in an immigration removal centre and faces fast-track deportation. She was detained after recently applying for asylum.

The Waltham Forest Guardian reports she said: “I got caught at school with another girl and they told my parents. That’s when they started cutting my wrists and giving me medicines to try and cure me for being a lesbian.

“The discrimination is terrifying. If they learn that you are gay, you will be imprisoned and tortured. They know my face and could easily kill me.”

The African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group and the Peter Tatchell Foundation are both supporting Ms Seggane.

In a letter to be presented to the Home office, Peter Tatchell wrote: “As well as threat of arrest and imprisonment, she would be in danger of violent assault by homophobic mobs and Ugandan police mostly fail to protect LGBT people from homophobic violence.”

John Cryer, the Labour MP for Leyton, said he will discuss the case with the Home Office.

He said: “This morning I have liaised with her solicitor and will be making urgent representations to the Home Office about the case.

“All the merits and grounds of her case need to be considered and it is not acceptable that the Home Office are trying to fast-track deportation.”

Ms Seganne has a meeting scheduled with the Home Office tomorrow.

The Home Office said it does not comment on individual cases.

A spokeswoman added: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it and we consider every claim for asylum on its individual merits.”

The President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni gave assent to a law further criminalising same-sex sexual activity in February.

Earlier this month, Conservative MP Crispin Blunt and Labour MP Pamela Nash strongly criticised the Home Office over its handling of LGBT asylum cases.

Human rights groups, MPs and lawyers have frequently documented alleged cases of the Home Office deporting LGBT asylum seekers back to countries such as Uganda where they face violence.

The claims have always been denied by the Home Office.