UK: Ugandan lesbian asylum seeker released from detention

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The deportation of a lesbian asylum seeker from Britain to Uganda has been stopped.

Judith Twiith Twikireze was due to board a plane at Heathrow bound for Uganda on Monday.

The deportation was halted when officials became aware of her judicial review.

She was being held in the Colnbrook Detention Centre in Berkshire.

But on Thursday evening campaigners announced Ms Twikireze had been freed from detention and that her deportation order had been stopped indefinitely.

Edwin Sesange, from the UK based African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group, said: “We cannot thank PinkNews enough for their support. We also thank the UK Government, Crispin Blunt, Lord Cashman and the British public for their support.

“We are relieved and overjoyed that Judith will be able to spend Christmas at home.”

Ms Twikireze had been placed on the widely-condemned Detained Fast Track (DFT) system.

Campaigners say Ms Twikireze was forced to undergo “a torturous exorcism” ritual in Uganda as a young child in a bid to ‘cure’ her from being gay.

She told PinkNews earlier this week that she still bears the scars of sharp lacerations on her joints and the trauma of human degradation.

Ms Twikireze accused the Home Office of ignoring medical statements from four qualified individuals and of giving her no time to prepare for her case.

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, the Home Office told PinkNews said that it does not “routinely comment” on individual asylum cases. It has always denied claims of deporting asylum seekers back to countries where they are at risk of homophobic persecution.

Same-sex sexual activity is already illegal in Uganda.