A Jamaican bisexual asylum seeker could be deported at any moment after being detained by the UK government today (24 April).
Orashia Edwards, 32, was ruled to be lying about his sexuality in the final judgment of his asylum case earlier this month.
This is in despite of a man in the UK saying he has been in a relationship with Edwards for the past two years and his entire family being British citizens. Two specialists living in Jamaica have also written on Edwards’ behalf to the UK, saying it is not safe for him to return.
His mother warns that if her son is sent home, she will sue the UK government for deporting him to a place where he could very easily be killed.
Earlier today (24 April), Edwards’ partner Michael Mardell dropped him off at the detention centre in Leeds at 9am. When he had been inside for an hour, he called, and Edwards picked up.
‘They’ve got me,’ Edwards told him.
The asylum seeker’s mother, Vienna Brown, said her son’s mental health has got ‘so bad’ in the past few years. She has given up her job in order to look after him in his depression. She also fears he will commit suicide than get on a plane to die.
‘He’s terrified about being sent back,’ Brown told GSN today (24 April). ‘He’s going to have to face being back in a community where he’s considered a gay man. They’re not going to say bisexual, they’re going to say he’s a batty man.
‘He’ll have to face the consequences of saying his country is homophobic. Jamaicans are a proud people. You can imagine how terrified how he’s going to be.
‘People have seen him in the papers, no one will have to ask who he is. He won’t be able to get a job, he won’t have family there. They’ll know he put Jamaica down. He will not be able to stay alive for long.’
Mardell, Edwards’ 54-year-old partner, said he hopes to marry Edwards one day.
‘I’m in love with the guy, we’re in a physical relationship. I support him,’ he told GSN. ‘We’ve talked about marriage plans.’
He added: ‘If he goes back to Jamaica, his life is at risk. I hope nothing happens, but what will the UK government say if it does?
‘His entire family is here, I’m here, he’s going to be alienated out there on his own.
‘If he does stay here, it’s not like he’s going to be a drain on the UK economy. I can support him, I have a job, I want to a build a life with him.
‘He’s got a heart of gold, he’s conscientious, he just wants to live his life. Eventually he’ll be healthy enough to get a job and contribute, he wants to do that. When people complain about immigration, this is not someone you need to worry about.’
Edwards’ family are still hoping to appeal his deportation and are petitioning Labour leader Ed Miliband to intervene.
After he lost his legal battle last year, Edwards said he would ‘prefer to be a dead man than get on a flight to die. I have nowhere to go’.
Leeds No Borders, an organization campaigning on behalf of LGBTI asylum seekers, has successfully got flights to Jamaica cancelled in the past – but it is unknown whether they can do much now.