A Ugandan mom who was forced to flee beatings, rape and persecution is set to be deported from Britain on Saturday (24 May).
Aidah Asaba told Gay Star News believes she will be beaten, jailed or even killed if the UK sends her back home.
But after her initial asylum application was mishandled, she has been locked up by the British and is being fast-tracked to be flown back to Uganda.
That’s despite the fact the UK has a policy of not deporting LGBTI people to countries where they will be at risk, and Uganda’s new, harsh anti-gay laws have been condemned by Britain.
Asaba, now 27, told GSN that her mother caught her with her girlfriend when she was 22.
She said: ‘That’s when the problems started. My family rejected me, calling me weak and evil. My father locked me in my room for an hour and beat me with a stick and with his fists. Then he kicked me out of the house.
‘I went back to the university. After some time he called me to come back home and told me he had a man to marry me. He said I didn’t have a choice, if I refused he would disown me or take me to prison.’
She couldn’t go to the police because Uganda criminalizes gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
Her new husband didn’t initially know she was a lesbian but discovered her secret.
They had a daughter together who is now four years old. Asaba was forced to leave her with her husband when she fled to seek asylum.
But the persecution from her neighbors didn’t stop even when she was married.
She said: ‘Community leaders sent me a letter and demanded I come to a meeting to discuss my sexuality. They said I was recruiting young girls to be lesbians.
‘I have been to meetings like that before. I have attended some meetings where they just started beating people. There is no control.’
Asaba arrived in the UK in October last year and stayed with a friend.
It harmed her case with the UK Home Office that she didn’t go out to gay bars in Britain as they didn’t believe she was lesbian. But she told GSN she was traumatized from what had happened to her and from leaving behind her daughter so stayed in the house rather than partying.
In January she applied for asylum but just six days later she was arrested and put in to an asylum detention center near London's Heathrow Airport.
Her case is being backed by two globally respected Ugandan activists. Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda is able to verify Asaba’s story as she was in touch with SMUG in Uganda. And Edwin Sesange of Africa Out and Proud Diamond Group is coordinating the campaign to save her from deportation.