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Stop the imminent removal of Abbey Kyeyune - a gay man - back to Uganda

This petition had 1,375 supporters

1. Abbey Kyeyune is a gay man, recently living in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, who has been seeking asylum in the UK [HO Ref: K1724109]. He is presently detained by the Home Office and is due to be deported back to Uganda where he will face state-sponsored persecution and the serious risk of violence because of his sexuality.

2. Abbey comes from Kampala, Uganda and was aware from his early teens that he his gay. His formal education stopped at secondary school level as the family could not fund any further or higher education for him, so he was limited in the kinds of work he could get as a young adult. He did some simple tasks such as water-carrying, and eventually started going to the market to trade and sell clothes.

3. Although Abbey did his best to conceal his sexuality from his family, their suspicions became aroused and at a family meeting in 2007 he was told that if he was gay, and behaved like a gay man, then they would kill him. Unable to conceal his true feelings, Abbey began a relationship with another man, was seen by his uncle with his boyfriend in a bar, and was seriously beaten by family members as a result. Other assaults by family members followed on at least three occasions.

4. During Abbey's second serious relationship, he was observed with his boyfriend in a bar in 2013 and was seriously assaulted by his family yet again. There were also encounters with the police during this relationship but Abbey always managed to escape and avoid arrest. As a result he felt trapped and remained indoors for long periods until he eventually realised that he must leave Uganda.

5. Abbey paid an agent to get him out of Uganda and to the UK, a business visa was acquired which allowed Abbey into the UK for a specified time period in 2014, and on 28th July 2014 Abbey arrived here. After he left Uganda, Abbey was told that the Ugandan authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest. He also discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested and detained because of his sexuality. So, taking into account the risk of violence from his family, the arrest warrant in his name, and the arrest and detention of his boyfriend, Abbey realised he could not go back to Uganda and applied for asylum in the UK.

6. When he started the asylum process Abbey was completely unprepared for the asylum interview and subsequent appeal hearing, and he struggled to give a coherent account of the factual evidence which supported his claim for asylum. As a result he was judged to be not credible, and every attempt via the asylum appeals process to have this finding reconsidered has failed because of those initial negative assessments of Abbey's credibility.

7. It was then discovered that, due to administrative failings by the Home Office, Abbey and his lawyer were never informed of the final rejection in his sequence of appeals when that decision was reached in December 2016. If Abbey had known of that decision at the time that it was made, he could have considered further legal submissions, but instead the Home Office detained him without warning on 2nd March and only then did he learn of the December 2016 decision. There is either maladministration here, or a deliberate attempt to curb Abbey's ability to continue with his case.

8. Only one week after his detention at the Immigration Reporting Centre in Salford, and his subsequent transfer to the Campsfield House detention centre near Oxford, Abbey was served yesterday (9th March) with notification that he will be deported to Uganda on Kenya Airways flight KQ101 to Nairobi, departing from Heathrow at 17:25 on 13th March, with an onward Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi to Kampala on 14th March.

9. Abbey has been living as an openly gay man among the LGBT communities in the Manchester area for a significant length of time. He has become involved with a number of LGBT groups, is comfortable and entirely natural in his identity as a gay man in Manchester's open and affirming LGBT culture, and his friends and supporters have no doubts about his sexuality and the truthfulness of his life story. But the asylum process in this country says that he has failed to prove his sexuality and our government is planning to send him back to a state, and into a culture and society, where the oppression of gay people is endemic, state-sponsored and encouraged by religious authorities, and where protection from anti-gay discrimination and violent persecution is effectively non-existent.

10. The UK should not be sending LGBT people back to Uganda - and yet, in a few days time, unless we can stop Abbey's deportation, the Home Office will be doing exactly that. Your support for this petition may just help to get that message across to the Home Office, and could help to save Abbey's life.

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