Elizabeth*, a Ugandan lesbian who is a rape and torture survivor, is being held at Yarl's Wood Detention Centre and is danger of being removed to Uganda early next week. She is unlikely to survive if returned.
Elizabeth's solicitor is preparing to submit a fresh asylum application with substantial new evidence including a medical psychiatric report currently scheduled for completion on the 8th of June. However, she has been told Elizabeth is likely to be deported within the next week. It will be a grave injustice if Elizabeth is deported before all evidence has been considered.
Elizabeth is a Ugandan lesbian who has been living in Manchester. She fled to the UK in 2004, having lived her life as a lesbian secretly for many years. One night after being out with friends at an underground gay club she was visited at her home by several men she now believes to have been associated with the Ugandan authorities. She was bundled into a car and taken to a so-called 'Safe House' - unofficial Ugandan prisons where torture is regularly practiced. Elizabeth was held for 5 months, during which time she was repeatedly raped, whipped and beaten. She eventually managed to escape, and fled to the UK where she claimed asylum.
Elizabeth's asylum claim, and her appeal, have both been rejected. Whilst the adjudicators recognise that homosexuals are persecuted in Uganda, they do not believe that the term 'homosexual' and evidence relating to the treatment of homosexuals, applies to lesbians. They have also questioned her identity as a lesbian, because she had a child as a young woman, although this is common among British lesbians too. They show further misunderstandings about the nature of both underground gay communities, and of state sanctioned abduction, detention and torture.
Elizabeth is in desperate and genuine fear of what awaits her if/when the Home Office forcibly deport her to Uganda. Not only has she been through the most terrible experiences, her long term partner has not be heard from or of since 2004; Elizabeth fears that she too has been abducted and detained. Unsurprisingly the abuse Elizabeth suffered in Uganda, and her fear and sadness at the apparent loss of her partner, has left Elizabeth depressed and extremely worried for her future.
Update: She's going to be deported Friday June 2 on KLM. See the website for letters and email addresses to Immigration and KLM, and other support needs.
More on the Home Office and gay asylum seekers (information not vetted):
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