Somerset

Gay rugby player from Kenya refused UK asylum

Kenneth Macharia, member of Bristol Bisons RFC Image copyright Phillip Rogerson
Image caption Kenneth Macharia says he will be persecuted for being gay if he is deported to Kenya

A gay rugby player who has been fighting deportation for three years has lost his bid for asylum in the UK.

Bristol Bisons player Kenneth Macharia fears persecution if he returns to his native Kenya, where gay sex is illegal.

Mr Macharia, 39, from Glastonbury, Somerset, said he had "only just got the letter" and "felt hopeless".

The Home Office said: "All available evidence is carefully and sensitively considered in light of published country information."

'Fearful of being detained'

The letter states Mr Macharia does not qualify to remain in the UK "on any basis" and informed him he must "make arrangements to leave... without delay".

He has also been told to report to Bridgwater police station on Thursday.

He said: "I'm absolutely depressed. My team-mates have been extremely supportive. I'm hoping nothing will happen [on Thursday] but I'm fearful I will be detained."

The mechanical engineer, who came to the UK to study for a masters degree, said his lawyer was "looking at the possibility of making a judicial review".

Image copyright Ken Macharia
Image caption Ken Macharia said he was "fearful" he would be detained when he attends Bridgwater police station on Thursday

Murray Jones, from the LGBTQ-inclusive Bristol Bisons, said: "The bottom line is that we're devastated by their decision.

"Given the fact that Kenya has upheld gay sex as a criminal offence very recently, we'll continue to fight for Ken, and we will be there at Bridgwater police station at 11am on Thursday."

Mr Macharia is on bail from an immigration removal centre and has been barred from working for almost a year.

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