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UK tells gay Ugandan asylum seeker he can Skype his boyfriend after he is deported

UK tells gay Ugandan asylum seeker he can Skype his boyfriend after he is deported

John Senyondo is freed after being at risk of deportation

The UK will deport a Ugandan man they acknowledge is gay, as they have told him he can Skype his boyfriend after he is deported.

John Senyondo, 44, is in detention awaiting officers who will force him on a Kenya Airways flight to Kampala tonight at 6.45pm.

He has been refused an appeal.

Senyondo left Uganda in 2008 and immediately found support and love in the church and a couple of years later in LGBTI activism.

‘I left Uganda because I was persecuted. I was beaten up because I am gay,’ he told Gay Star News. ‘When I left Uganda, I was told I would be killed if I returned. I would be put in danger.’

Senyondo’s father died soon after his family found out he was gay. They blame him for his death, and he has been since isolated from his friends and family.

‘I have been persecuted by my family, the Ugandan government, and now the Home Office,’ he added. ‘Uganda is very homophobic, is very dangerous for my life, and I will be killed.’

Senyondo and his boyfriend Michael Ofumbi have been in a relationship since February.

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‘It is not accepted that there would be very significant obstacles preventing you from re-establishing and developing your private life upon return to Uganda,’ the Home Office said in its ruling denying Senyondo asylum.

‘Whilst the content of your claimed partner’s statement may demonstrate that you have established a private life with him in the UK, it is considered you could continue the relationship from abroad.’

They added: ‘It is therefore considered that you could re-establish your private life upon return to Uganda…and you would be able to keep in contact with your UK-based friends and associates through modern channels of communication.’

Edwin Sesange, director of Out and Proud Diamond Group, told Gay Star News: ‘The UK should review John Senyondo’s case and grant his asylum.

‘I’m concerned if the Home Office is advising people to maintain their relationships with modern means of communication.

‘Refusing him right of appeal is wrong. We hope the High Court will look into his evidence and revoke this decision.

‘His application is supported by his church, we have known him since 2013 and we have no doubt about his sexuality.

‘The Home Office’s suggestion of maintaining his relationship online is ridiculous.’

And Peter Tatchell, veteran human rights campaigner, said: ‘It is outrageous that the Home Office is deporting a gay man back to Uganda, where gay people are at risk of imprisonment and mob violence.

‘It is unsafe for him to be returned, especially given his LGBT activism in Britain against the homophobia of the Ugandan government.

‘The Home Office advice that John can continue his UK relationship via phone, email and social media is insulting and appalling. It is unreasonable to expect him to cease seeing his partner and to go back into the closet in Uganda, after having had a relationship and lived a safe, open LGBT life in the UK.’

A Home Office spokesperson told Gay Star News they are investigating the case but do not comment on judicial cases.

UPDATE: The Home Office has chosen to not depart John Senyondo this evening. He remains in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre.