A Ugandan-born asylum-seeker is facing deportation to his homeland where homosexuality is illegal after immigration officials decided he had “failed to prove” his sexuality, says The Independent.
Manchester-based Robert Kityo was taken to a deportation centre after his latest attempt to claim asylum was refused by the Home Office.
A decision letter sent by officials acting on behalf of Home Secretary Theresa May, obtained by The Independent said: “It is not accepted that you are a homosexual and an openly gay man.”
“The decision came even though more than 30 people including Dr David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, and leaders of LGBT groups in the city, sent letters in support of Mr Kityo’s claim,” adds the outlet.
More than 1,900 people have reportedly signed a petition calling for him to not to deported from the United Kingdom.
The 35-year-old is a member of a number of church groups including a fellowship for gay Christians.
The Bishop of Manchester, Dr Walker said in his letter: “I would say he has a well-founded case for asylum here in the UK.”
Homosexuality in Uganda is illegal under a 1950s penal code that prescribes jail for those found guilty of homosexual acts. Mr Kityo now fears he could be killed if he is sent back to Uganda.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act was overturned by the country’s Constitutional Court last year, but human rights campaigners fear it could be re-enacted.
Mr Kityo told The Independent: “I’m very scared. I’m a gay man and in Manchester I am able to be who I am. I have made many friends here who accept me and love me. But I’m frightened that I will be killed if I am sent back to Uganda. It isn’t safe to be a gay man in Uganda.”
Mr Kityo arrived in the United Kingdom in 2011 on a student visa and claimed asylum in 2012.
He also divulged that his partner in Uganda had been jailed for being gay and a warrant had been issued for his arrest if he returned.
However an immigration judge dismissed Mr Kityo’s claim on appeal in 2013 and said he did not believe he would face persecution.
The news site adds: “Solicitors acting on Mr Kityo’s behalf sent new submissions in September this year and asked for the case to be re-considered. But Home Office officials said in their new decision letter: “Most of the people who have written the letters and statements appear to have known you only since 2014. This undermines your case for being an openly gay man.”
Mr Kityo was released from a deportation centre at Manchester Airport at the weekend after being told by the Home Office that it wanted to take a further look at his case.
His legal team are continuing to fight for him to remain in the United Kingdom.