UK: Lesbian asylum seeker who suffered ‘torturous exorcism’ faces imminent deportation to Uganda

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

An asylum seeker who claims she is at risk of homophobic persecution is due to be deported to Uganda on Monday.

Campaigners say Judith Twiith Twikireze was forced to undergo “a torturous exorcism” ritual in Uganda and still bears the scars of sharp lacerations on her joints and the trauma of human degradation.

The African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group is calling for Ms Twikireze’s deportation to be stopped.

They are urging the public to sign a petition against the Home Office’s decision.

It’s claimed on 29 September Ms Twikireze went to the Home Office in Croydon to appeal for asylum.

Several days later she was taken to Yarlwoods Immigration Detention Centre and put on a Detained Fast Track (DFT) order.

Correspondence published in the petition suggests the Home Office rejected Ms Twikireze’s request on several questionable points.

It’s claimed the Home Office refused to accept a letter from Ms Twikireze’s counsellor because the counsellor did not state if she was qualified to make such findings and that it allegedly refused to accept a letter from Ms Twikireze’s doctor because the letter did not indicate her qualification.

The department reportedly accepted that Ms Twikireze may have been examined by a witch doctor and had suffered injuries – however it allegedly said that it could not be proved this was because of her sexuality.

The Home Office also allegedly accepted that a photo of Ms Twikireze had appeared in the notorious Red Pepper newspaper – a publication which seeks to out Ugandans who it believes are gay – but apparently went on to say: “The fact that this is the only article in the newspaper in which the font change[s] means it must be considered as an irregularity.”

In response, A Home Office spokesperson told “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and we consider every claim on its individual merits.

“We believe that those with no right to be in the UK should return to their home country and we will help those who wish to leave voluntarily. However, when they refuse to do so we will take steps to enforce their removal at the earliest opportunity.”

On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice ruled that refugees who claim asylum on the grounds that they are gay should not have to undergo tests to prove it.

The court made the ruling in relation to three men, one from Uganda the other from a Muslim country, who had failed in their bids for asylum when a Dutch court said they had not proved their sexual orientation.

A report published in October by the Sir John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, found that a fifth of gay asylum interviews conducted by Home Office caseworkers contained some stereotyping and a tenth contained questions of an unsatisfactory nature.

The Chief Inspector expressed particular concern about the treatment of sexual identity cases in the Detained Fast Track (DFT) process.

Earlier this summer, the High Court ruled that fast track detention, a system used to process the vast majority of cases, was “unlawful”.