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Asylum seeker who was beaten and raped for being gay in Uganda could be sent back by Trump administration

Patrick Kelleher October 21, 2019
Uganda

A woman who was beaten and raped for being a lesbian in Uganda could be sent back to her home country by the Trump administration.

The woman – who has not been named publicly – knew she was gay when she was 13, but learned not to speak of the subject after her mother said she was a “disgrace”.

She has now revealed her ordeal in an interview with Rolling Stone where she spoke about her efforts to get asylum in the US.

The woman was dragged off a road and beaten and raped for her sexuality in Uganda.

In the interview, the woman – who uses an alias of “Margaret” – explained that she had enrolled in college but quickly dropped out when rumours spread that she was gay.

Everything changed for Margaret when she went to the Nyege Nyege music festival in Uganda – an event that many of the country’s queer people attend.

The next day, as she was leaving, she was dragged off the road where she was beaten and raped. She said her attackers made it clear that she had been targeted because of her sexuality.

Margaret eventually decided to flee Uganda after police arrived at a house party where LGBT+ people were in attendance and arrested her friends. She went to Mexico where she informed immigration officials that she was going to the US to seek asylum.

She was able to cross the US border, but was later given heartbreaking news – that immigration officials determined she had no “credible fear” or any way of knowing if she would be in danger if she returned to Uganda. The woman has filed an appeal.

Ugandan minister recently claimed that they are planning to introduce death penalty for gay people.

The news comes less than two weeks after Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister Simon Lokodo told Reuters that the government was planning to re-table the “Kill the Gays” bill, which was defeated several years ago. The bill would introduce the death penalty for gay people.

The bill would also criminalise anyone involved in “promotion and recruitment” of homosexuality. It would make conditions much worse for LGBT+ people in the country where those convicted can already serve a life sentence.

However, a spokesperson for president Yoweri Museveni later said that the government had no plans to reintroduce the legislation.

“There are no plans by the government to introduce a law like that,” Don Wanyama, President Museveni’s senior press secretary told Reuters.

“We have the penal code that already handles issues of unnatural sexual behavior so there is no law coming up.”

More: asylum, Kill the Gays, rolling stone, Uganda, United States

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