Saturday, 18 October 2008

Prossy Can Stay!

News from Manchester that Ugandan lesbian Prossy Kakooza has won her battle for asylum in the UK as the judge ruled in her favour and the Home Office are not going to appeal against the judge's decision.

Prossy issued the following statement:

Dear friends: I get to stay!! Am still in shock, and am so sure it's going to take days to sink in. But I have not stopped smiling since 12:00pm today, and won't stop for a while.

I went with my friend Gwen and am so glad I did because when we left I was in a sort of daze! When this woman handed me the paper and said, "You have been granted leave to remain" my jaw nearly hit the floor. Always the pessimist, I thought this was where she told me "but the Home Office is appealing". So Iasked if they were and she said no they were not. I had a bit of a hooray shout when we got out - couldn't contain it.

You have held me together, you have held me upright when all I wanted to do was roll up in a heap and give up. You gave me the motivation to go on and fight! Going with me to places to collect signatures, encouraging people to sign online, coming to meetings, writing statements, going to court with me, and most importantly - all the prayers. And I don't think you have any idea how the phone calls, texts and emails help. They kept me sane.

There are no appropriate words I can use to say thank you. All I can do is pray to my God to bless you all. You have changed my life and for that I will forever be grateful. THANK YOU!

Lots and lots of love, hugs and kisses,

She had received a great deal of support including:
  • 5200 people from countries, and church congregations, from all over the world who have signed her petition to the Home Office asking that she be allowed to stay;
  • 100s of people who have written or emailed the Immigration Minister;
  • the 80 members and friends of MCC Manchester who have supported her with their love, prayers, money and concern;
  • the 19 friends who went to court with her and helped her collect signatures on her petition at Pride festivals all over the country;
  • the ten friends who gave evidence in court on her behalf;
  • Ruth Heatley from the Immigration Aid Unit and barristers Mark Schwenk and Mel Plimmer, the lawyers who drafted and prepared her case.
Prossy fled Uganda after being tortured and raped by police officers.

Her family had discovered Prossy and her partner in bed together and had marched them, naked, to the police station where they were detained. Prossy was subjected to horrific sexual attacks and physical torture. She escaped to the UK after her family bribed the guards to release her - as they wanted to deal with their family shame by having Prossy killed.

The Home Office denied her asylum and the original judge believed Prossy's claim to have been raped and tortured but felt it would be safe to return her to a different part of Uganda.

Prossy won at a hearing on 3rd July. A senior Immigration Judge dismissed a previous Immigration Tribunal ruling which denied Prossy asylum, calling the judgement "a mess". This ruling allowed Prossy to present her claim afresh.


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