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Gay asylum seeker John Bosco Nyombi wins right to stay in UK

PinkNews Staff Writer June 1, 2009
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Ugandan gay asylum seeker John Bosco Nyombi has finally won asylum in the UK after an eight-year campaign.

A High Court judge ruled that his removal had been “manifestly unlawful” as he had been forcibly deported while his case was still under review. He will now seek damages from the government.

Nyombi arrived in Britain in 2001 after fearing for his safety in Uganda, where gays can be imprisoned for life or even killed.

In September last year, he was forcibly deported just two days after a recent photograph of him had appeared in a Ugandan newspaper.

He evaded a first arrest by paying a bribe and then lived in hiding for the next six months. He was caught on two occasions, suffering beatings from both police and other prisoners.

He had allegedly been beaten by British removal officers, who gave him no opportunity to contact friends or lawyers and left him minutes after he arrived in Uganda.

In March, deputy High Court judge Sir George Newman said the Home Office was guilty of “a grave and serious breach” of the law.

He added that the actions of the Border Agency officers were “deliberately calculated to avoid any complication that could arise from Mr Bosco ‘s removal becoming publicly known”.

Nyombi arrived back in the UK on March 6th, although was kept in a detention centre for three days due to a “miscommunication”.

He intends to return to his old job as a careworker in Southampton once his immigration papers arrive.

Speaking to the Independent on Sunday, he said: “I think I’ve lost a lot of things. I’ve lost time and I have been stopped from working. I want to rest now, I want peace. For the last five years, I’ve been wondering what will happen tomorrow. For the first time, I won’t have to worry about that.”

He added: “Although I’ve had a rough time, I’ll never say it was Britain that did it to me, but always the Home Office. Without the friends I have here, I wouldn’t have survived.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and the country’s president has openly attacked it, calling it a “negative foreign culture”.

During his time in office LGBT Ugandans have been repeatedly threatened, harassed or attacked. Many have fled the country.

Many gay asylum seekers are being deported from the UK on the premise that they can continue to pursue their sexuality in the native land if they act “discreetly”.

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