'Gay' Ugandan Brenda Namigadde fears deportation death
- 28 January 2011
- From the section UK
A Ugandan woman who says she is a lesbian fears she will be killed if she is deported to her country of origin.
Brenda Namigadde told the BBC's Network Africa programme that if she returned to Uganda, where gay sex is against the law, she would be persecuted.
The Home Office said a judge had ruled Ms Namigadde was "not homosexual" and therefore did not have a genuine claim.
It comes just days after David Kato, a Ugandan gay rights campaigner, was beaten to death.
Mr Kato, who was killed on Wednesday, had sued a local newspaper which outed him as homosexual.
Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper published the photographs of several people it said were gay, including Mr Kato, with the headline "Hang them".
It is unclear whether the killing of Mr Kato was linked to his campaigns.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, with punishments of 14 years in prison. An MP recently tried to increase the penalties to include the death sentence in some cases.
'Life in danger'
Ms Namigadde, who has been held at a detention centre just outside London, told the BBC's Network Africa programme she was "shaking" with fear at the prospect of returning to Uganda.
"I'm going to be killed," said the Ugandan woman, who revealed that she fled to the UK in 2002 after being beaten and victimised because of her sexuality.
She said Mr Kato's death meant homosexual people "are not safe at all in Uganda".
"I'm scared to go back to the same situation I was in.
"I'm not ready to repent because that is who I am. I can't live in Uganda. My life is in danger."
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has said people facing persecution for their sexual orientation in Uganda should be given refugee status in other countries.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell urged Home Secretary Theresa May to halt the removal of Ms Namigadde and allow her to make a fresh asylum appeal
He said: "It would be very wrong and dangerous to send Brenda back to a country where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment and where MPs have drafted a new law to execute gay people.
"One of the Ugandan MPs who is pushing for the death penalty has singled out Brenda for public condemnation. She is being targeted.
"If she is forced back to Uganda, Brenda is likely to be arrested at the airport and probably jailed and tortured - or murdered by a homophobic mob."
The Home Office has hitherto rejected Ms Namigadde's efforts to remain in the UK.
Matthew Coats, head of immigration at the UK Border Agency, said: "Ms Namigadde's case has been carefully considered by both the UK Border Agency and the courts on two separate occasions and she has been found not to have a right to remain here.
"An immigration judge found on the evidence before him that Ms Namigadde was not homosexual.
"She has submitted further representations and these will be reviewed by the UK Border Agency prior to any removal."
Mr Coats said the government has made it clear that it is committed to stopping the removal of asylum seekers who have "genuinely had to leave particular countries because of their sexual orientation or gender identification".
However, he added that "when someone is found not to have a genuine claim" the person is expected to "leave voluntarily".