Mike Hancock welcomes Ugandan gay deportation case deferral

Richard Flowers reported here on Lib Dem Voice last week Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock’s grave concerns for a Portsmouth constituent facing deportation back to Uganda — Robert Segwanyi is gay, and argues he was imprisoned and tortured in his home country, where homosexuality is illegal. (Michael Andrewes, Mr Hancock’s constituency researcher offered further background in the Voice’s comments thread here.)

For those who supported Mr Hancock’s campaign on behalf of Mr Segwanyi there is some welcome news courtesy of the BBC website:

‘Gay’ Ugandan asylum seeker’s deportation deferred

A Ugandan man living in Portsmouth who says he will be tortured because of his sexuality if he is sent home has avoided deportation. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) deferred Robert Segwanyi’s deportation minutes before he was due to board a flight to the east African country.

Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock said the 32-year-old was burnt with molten plastic in Uganda, where gay acts are illegal. The Home Office found Mr Segwanyi not to have a genuine claim. The UKBA is still considering representations put in by Mr Segwanyi’s lawyers and so has deferred the removal. …

Mr Hancock said: “I welcome the decision tonight not to deport Mr Segwanyi and all I ask is that Mr Segwanyi’s case is properly considered, which I believe it hasn’t been up until now.” Mr Hancock said he had “grave concerns” about the way the case had been handled and said he had received letters from UKBA containing “errors on the law”. He continued: “I hope that the UKBA will now consider his case properly. However it is bad that Mr Segwanyi was put through the agony of thinking he would be deported right up until the 11th hour.” …

[Uganadan] Anglican bishop Mr Senyonjo, who is currently in the UK, said people who were gay or perceived to be gay “undoubtedly face questioning at the [Ugandan] airport and will likely face harassment and possibly violence from the police, as we have witnessed before”.

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