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Monday, 7 July 2008

Nigerian asylum seeker and activist freed

The gay Nigerian Christian lay preacher Davis Mac-Iyalla has been freed by the UK Home Office, Peter Tatchell reports.

Earlier this afternoon, London-based gay human rights group Outrage! reported that Mr. Mac-Iyalla, who is seeking refuge in UK had been arrested and incarcerated at the Oakington asylum detention centre in Cambridgeshire.

“The Home Office has just announced that [Mr.] Mac-Iyalla has been freed,W Mr. Tatchell said.

“After an intensive lobbying campaign for his release, the Home Office has relented and set free Mr Mac-Iyalla.

“I am delighted that the Home Office has finally seen sense and released him.

“But he was only freed because he has lots of supporters and a first-class solicitor, Abigale Evans of Wilson and Co.

“Many gay asylum seekers are not so lucky,” Mr. Tatchell pointed out.

“They end up in detention for months.

“Davis should never have been detained in the first place.

“Treating a victim of homophobic persecution like a common criminal is outrageous, said Mr Tatchell insisted.


Davis Mac-Iyalla (b. 1974 in or near Otukpo) is a Nigerian LGBT rights activist. He established the Nigerian wing of the British Changing Attitude organization, which presses for internal reform of the Anglican Communion for further inclusion of Anglican sexual minorities.

He came out to himself at the age of 14, but his disinterest in dating females was not made apparent to others around him until after two events: the ordination of Gene Robinson as the bishop of New Hampshire in the Episcopalian branch, and the death of his mentor, the Bishop Iyobee Ugede of Otukpo. He was, in July of 2003, fired from his job as the principal of a local Anglican children's school; after this incident, which he believed was due to his being gay, he became an activist and started work with Changing Attitude.

He has faced stiff opposition from both the religious elite and their lay constituents in Nigeria, which is a heavily-conservative nation in terms of politics. The church of Nigeria has issued a disclaimer against Mac-Iyalla on their website. However, Mac-Iyalla has met with the primate of the Nigerian Church, Peter Akinola, who is most well known for leading an internal faction of the worldwide communion against welcoming actions towards LGBT Anglicans by the British Anglican and U.S. Episcopalian churches.
Mac-Iyalla has ventured to other countries with Anglican communities on speaking tours.

He has been accused by Nigerian Anglicans as a charlatan who made up his life story, most notably by Canon Akintunde Popoola, but Mac-Iyalla posted photos of his time as a knight of the church during his younger years on the Web.

Source: Wikipedia


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