A mother says the UK government is giving her bisexual son a ‘death sentence just for being who he is’.
Vienna Brown, mom to 32-year-old Orashia Edwards, spoke to GSN in tears about her son’s fate now he has been refused asylum in Britain.
He is to be sent back to Jamaica – where he has been vilified in the national press making him a target for anti-gay thugs.
Earlier today (25 July), Edwards was detained after a routine sign-in at Water Side Court in Leeds, north-east England.
His family say he was given no warning and no indication to him or his family that he would be detained.
Edwards lost his asylum case earlier this month after the court concluded he was ‘dishonest’ about his sexuality, not believing he was actually bisexual. They have given no reason to claim he was lying about his sexuality.
His family say Edwards was suicidal after losing the legal case, and his mental health has worsened considerably over the past few weeks.
‘They’re refusing to tell me where my son is. Something has changed. I am very, very terrified,’ a tearful Brown told GSN on the phone.
‘His life is at risk. Sending my son to Jamaica, hundreds of miles away, they are ripping my family apart.
‘They don’t care. They’re taking my son away, sending him to a country that will kill him.
‘The UK government are giving him a death sentence for being who he is.’
The Jamaican press have run articles on Edwards, identifying him as bisexual and accompanied those articles with pictures.
According to the family, readers have written in to the paper saying he should be attacked – ‘punished’ – as soon as he arrives back in the country.
Missi Mangham-Edwards, Brown’s daughter and Orashia’s sister, said she was ‘very confused and disappointed’.
‘I was under the impression the system would work and it’s been proven it doesn’t,’ she told GSN.
‘The way it’s been handled, it’s like they are using my brother as an example for something. But at the end of the day they are ripping my family apart and they are sending him to his death.’
Brown said the way the situation has been handled is ‘disturbing’.
‘The system is wrong. They need to evaluate what is going on. Everything. My family has never claimed a penny from this country.
‘They knew my son was suicidal. My son’s brain has been brutalized and his health has been disregarded.
‘They knew he was not well. He could be on a plane for all I know. I am so terrified.’
Edwards has been living in Leeds for the past 14 years.
After he lost his legal battle, he said he would ‘prefer to be a dead man than get on a flight to die. I have nowhere to go’.
Leeds for Change, an organization campaigning on behalf of LGBTI asylum seekers, successfully got a flight cancelled that was meant to deport Edwards last January.
The group alleges the Home Office decision behind who is granted asylum have been prejudiced.
Some activists also say the Home Office finds it difficult to grant bisexual people asylum, saying there is an attitude that they could ‘pass’ in their home country.
The Home Office has denied claims its asylum decisions are prejudiced.