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UK gives Uganda lesbian, victim of torture and exorcism, reprieve from being deported

UK gives Uganda lesbian, victim of torture and exorcism, reprieve from being deported

A Ugandan woman has a matter of days to prove she is a lesbian and was tortured over her sexuality.

Judith Twikirize, 23, was told she would be forced to return home to Uganda, flying home yesterday evening (8 December), after the UK government ruled she was lying over her sexuality.

Due to the case being fast-tracked, after she had claimed asylum on 29 September, the young woman could not compile the necessary evidence in time.

But thanks to a judicial review lodged by her solicitor, hours before the plane left the airport, she’s been given a small chance. Twikirize is now in a detention centre waiting for a decision to be made.

She told Gay Star News when she was a tomboyish 10 years old, she was taken to a witch doctor by her grandmother to be exorcised. It was hoped that by cutting her deep with razors and forcing her to sleep in a house of spirits the demons, the evil that ’causes lesbianism’, would leave. This went on weekly for a year.

Twikirize also says after she left school, she was walking with her girlfriend when they were both brutally attacked by a gang of boys. Shortly after this, she says her girlfriend was poisoned.

Medical Justice’s independent doctors have verified her scars are the same that are caused by this horrific ‘gay cure’ exorcism therapy. This happened two days after the UK government made their decision over the case.

Among her other claims is that she was featured on Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper’s list of the 200 ‘Top Homos’, a list from earlier this year that has seen many of the names becoming victims of persecution and violence. This was rejected as she was unable to obtain an original issue of the paper from her detention centre.

The judge reportedly said when Twikirize came to the UK, she did not seek out the help of gay women, so she could not be a lesbian. Twikirize disagreed with the judge, saying since her mother abandoned her she finds it very difficult to open up to women and it is easier to talk to men.

Edwin Sesange, director of Out and Proud Diamond Group, told GSN that she has days – at most – for it to be decided whether the judge had acted fairly to Twikirize.

He said: ‘Uganda is not a safe country for LGBTI people and activism.

‘We urge the UK government to stop Judith’s deportation immediately, give her an opportunity to submit further evidence to support her case and above all change the way LGBTI asylum seekers are treated in the UK.’

Over 1000 people have signed a petition calling for the UK government to give Twikirize asylum. Sign it here.