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Sunday, 21 September 2008

Both Bosco and Babi deported, government and airline condemned


Campaigners have lost two gay asylum seekers to deportation over the past two days. Both are returning to unsafe situations where they are at real risk of violence, one has documented evidence of a death threat, and in both cases lawyers for the men believe the deportations are illegal.

The deportations occurred despite assurances from the Deputy Prime Minister to correct unfair treatment of LGBT asylum seekers.

John 'Bosco' Nyombi was deported on a flight in Entebbe, Uganda on Friday evening. He has managed to briefly borrow a phone (he didn't have one) to contact UK supporters and is now in hiding from police.

His story has been featured in the Ugandan Press within the last few days including an up-to-date photo of him.

He is in danger of being murdered by Ugandan extremists who are homophobic and he is in danger from Ugandan government political supporters who murdered Bosco's brother because of his high-profile political opposition.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission issued an action alert on Thursday because of the escalating violence directed at the emerging LGBT community in Uganda.

Bosco's solicitors believe that the deportation was "an illegal act of the UK Border Agency".

Babakhan (Babi) Badalov was deported from Heathrow Airport yesterday afternoon on a British Midlands Airways (BMI) to Baku.

The deportation was described by his supporters as appearing to go against the UK Border Agency's rules as they changed the details of Babi’s forced removal at the last minute and did so on a Saturday.

Babi reported being told by a Border Agent, "you make us sick, you're going back where you belong.”

He was due to fly earlier in the day on Azerbaijan Airlines but the airline refused to take him after they were contacted by supporters of Babi. As soon as supporters learned of the change of airline to BMI they attempted to contact them, however many were not able to get through and claim that the Press Officer of BMI's contact number was deliberately switched off.

A medical assesment conducted on Friday had strongly recommended that Babi required a mental health check and an appointment with a neurologist had been arranged. His local MP Jenny Willotts has made strong representations for Babi urging the Home Office not to deport him.

Further, Peter Tatchell, who was contacted by Deputy Prime Minister Harriet Harman, after she was booed at the London Pride Rally in July because of the government's approach to LGBT asylum, contacted Harman about Babi:

He (Babi) is scheduled for deportation despite him being in the process of filing a new asylum claim with fresh evidence. This new evidence includes one of his brothers threatening to kill him on grounds that he had shamed the family by being gay. There are also new witness statements detailing Babi’s history of violent, homophobic persecution in Azerbaijan.

In these circumstances, his removal should be put on hold until he has an opportunity to put forward this new evidence to an asylum tribunal.
Tatchell says that when he recently met Harriet Harman, she and Barbara Follett MP sagreed to examine and assist in the correction of any unfair treatment of LGBT asylum applicants.

Babi emailed the following message to supporters on Sunday:

FAKKK YOU MISS JACQUYI LOCKSMITH FROM HELLBAIJAN
FAKK YOU UNITED KING KONG YANKEE GO KHOMEBASHI
WILL NOT DIED N KILL MYSELF
WILL CONITINE EXCEPT YOU GIVING ME ADVENTURE PAIN
I AM LIVE BUT ITS VERY TERRIBLE PLACE TO BE HERE
I AM AFFRAID OF MY FAMILY COME FIND ME HERE
I LAV ALL ALL YOU THERE
YOU ALL SO GOOD AND NICE PLESANT TO ME
His supporters said:
If anything happens to Babi in Azerbaijan, British government and the BMI airline will bear the ultimate responsibility for that.

Please write to BMI stating that you will ensure none of your friends and family travel with them in the future, that you will campaign ceaselessly against them, for they have acted selfishly, with no regard to an individual’s health and mental well-being.

Let’s make sure they experience a backlash.
The editor of Scotsgay Magazine John Heim noted that the MD of airline BMI is gay man Sir Michael David Bishop CBE.

In the wake of the deportations, gayasylumuk reiterated its call made on Thursday for two things:
1. maximum embarrassment and a collective 'turning of the back' by UK LGBT and all right thinking people, particularly as the governing Labour Party conducts its annual conference in Manchester next week
2. signatures to the petition initiated by the Rev. Walter Attwood to Gordon Brown [http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Stopdeportinggay/]
Noting that the government has flown rainbow flags from Eastern European embassies, they also reiterated their call made earlier this year that:
"Gay and lesbian Labour voters in particular consider changing their vote if the [LGBT asylum] policy isn't changed before the next election. This is one way to get the message through on their hypocrisy regarding lesbian and gay rights issues — when embassies in other countries are flying the rainbow flag they aren't doing this in Tehran, Kingston or Kampala."

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