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Bisexual asylum seeker Orashia Edwards released after deportation cancelled

Nick Duffy May 29, 2015

A bisexual asylum seeker has won a temporary reprieve – after plans to deport him to Jamaica were put on hold.

Orashia Edwards, 33, was this month held in custody awaiting imminent deportation to Jamaica, after his asylum claim was rejected.

A tribunal had rejected Mr Edwards’ pleas for asylum on the grounds for sexuality, claiming was heterosexual and had just been “experimenting” with men – despite LGBT activists complaining the process is flawed and discriminatory.

Until now the UK government has pushed ahead with plans to deport Mr Edwards despite criticism, even though homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica, and LGBT people face the risk of vigilante violence.

However, today the deportation has been put on hold and Mr Edwards released from custody, amid a pending appeal against the tribunal decision.

Mr Edwards told PinkNews in a statement that he is “relieved to be back home with friends and family and hopes his asylum claim will be granted soon”.

A spokesperson for asylum campaign group Leeds Without Borders told PinkNews: “This ordeal has been horrendous. It’s the fourth time Orashia has been detained.

“The Home Office know it’s a death sentence for Orashia to be sent to Jamaica and this continuing state of uncertainty has had a profound impact on his mental and physical wellbeing.

“Orashia must never be detained again and we urge the Home Office to grant him asylum immediately so he can finally rebuild his life in peace.”

Edwards mother Vienna Brown told the Guardian: “I got an email from Orashia’s solicitor saying that he was going to be released, but it wasn’t until I heard the knock at the door and opened it and saw him there that I really believed it.

“I just fell to the ground and thanked God, because I’ve prayed so hard to have my son back with me.

“I’ve hardly slept since he was detained. I just hope that this will lead to more good news and that he’ll be allowed to stay in this country with his family and his friends.”

Mr Edwards’ appeal against the rejection of his claim will be brought on June 17.

Home Secretary Theresa May previously carried out a review of the way LGBT asylum cases were dealt with – but activists maintain the system is still homophobic and not fit for purpose.

More: asylum, England, Gay, Home Office, Orashia Edwards, seeker, Theresa May, UK

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