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After 13 years Nigerian LGBTI activist finally granted asylum in the UK

After 13 years Nigerian LGBTI activist finally granted asylum in the UK


A Nigerian LGBTI activist who was told she ‘fabricated’ her sexuality and even shared a DVD of her sex life to prove she is a lesbian has finally been granted asylum seeker status in the UK.

Aderonke Apata, 50, fought a long battle with UK authorities since coming to England in 2004. She left Nigeria because she was afraid she would be persecuted for her religion and sexuality.

During her court battles, High Court Judges told her she was ‘not lesbian enough’ and ‘looked to feminine’ to be a lesbian.

In 2015 Deputy High Court Judge John Bowers QC said Apata’s story was ‘fabricated’ because she had previously been in relationship with a man and had children.

But last week she was finally granted refugee status.

‘I’m extremely overwhelmed with joy and gladness to know that now I’m safe and can live freely as a human being!’ Apata wrote on Facebook.

‘I cannot thank enough everyone that wrote letters of support, ready to witness for me in Court, signed my various petitions and sent best wishes to me. You have all contributed to this victory.

‘As you rejoice with me for being safe, kindly remember that there are many people still in the same position that I was in for over 13 years!

‘I implore you all to stand with me and them to change the LGBTI asylum application system that seeks to persecute, dehumanise and demean people each step of the process for whom they are.’

In Nigeria Apata married a Muslim man – she came from a Christian family – in what she says was a sham arrangement. She said she got married to him to hide the fact she was in a relationship with a woman.

Apata claims her husband’s family turned against her when they suspected she was a lesbian. They took her to a sharia court, where she was sentenced to death for adultery.

Miscarriage of justice

Paul Dillane, executive director of LGBT rights group Kaleidoscope Trust said Apata’s court battle was an ‘egregious miscarriage of justice’.

‘Seeking asylum is not a crime and LGBT people fleeing persecution must be protected under the law. In my years of working with refugees, Aderonke’s case stands out as an egregious miscarriage of justice,’ Dillane said in a statement to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.