Petition hopes to halt gay rights campaigner’s deportation to Uganda

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A petition hopes to overturn a decision to deport a gay rights campaigner to Uganda.

Henry Atwooki Lutaaya, who lives in High Barnet, was detained in October, and is currently held at Harmondsworth detention centre.

Lutaaya, who has a wife and four children back in Uganda, says he is “scared” to return to the country, and that he will face persecution for his support of gay rights.

The 40-year-old is a care worker for disabled adults, and first came to the UK ten years ago. He had his application for asylum rejected after his visa expired in 2009, and has been refused permission to appeal to an upper tribunal.

Speaking from Harmondsworth, Mr Lutaaya told : “Every day is difficult. I am scared of what awaits me. My cell is tiny. They lock you in from eight in the evening till eight in the morning. It’s stressful. The first month was very bad.

“There was no need to cut me away from my friends and my family. I have never committed a crime, but they are treating me like a criminal. I find it very unfair. It’s not like I have been hiding either.

“I feel like I am British, I have been here for ten years. In Uganda, the way they speak about different people, it’s not me. I cannot fit in in that society.”

He said he would continue to speak out for gay rights.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and each claim is carefully considered on its individual merits.

“Mr Lutaaya was found not to need the protection of the UK. This decision has been upheld in the courts by an independent immigration judge.”

The petition can be signed here.