Relief for lesbian asylum seeker as Home Office halts her deportation to Uganda

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The deportation of a lesbian asylum seeker to Uganda has been halted.

Harriet Nakigudde was due to be deported from the UK today – despite a pending judicial review application at the High Court

Campaigners say the 30-year-old is at risk of persecution and imprisonment if returned to Uganda.

The African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group (OPDG) announced that Ms Nakigudde’s deportation by the Home Office was halted on Monday night at around 9pm – in order to allow the application to be fully processed.

In a statement to PinkNews, OPDG Director Edwin Sesange said: “We are grateful for the support given to Harriet by the British public and all the people around the world who have signed her petition.

“I thank the UK Government for agreeing to review her case. We strongly urge them to grant Harriet refugee status, so she can live her life without fear of being persecuted because of her sexuality, and we urge them to release her immediately from Yarlswood Detention Centre.”

A previous failed attempt to deport Ms Nakigudde on 17 May resulted in her collapsing whilst boarding a plane.

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.

Uganda is notorious for its widespread homophobic persecution.

A Ugandan law further criminalising same-sex sexual activity, allowing repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison, was given presidential approval in February.

For the first time lesbians in Uganda are now subject to the law as well.

A review of UK LGBT asylum policy by John Vine, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, will be published next month.