Image by erjkprunczyk via FlickrA Jamaican lesbian who served time in a UK prison for drug offences is appealing her deportation order, saying she will be killed if she returns to the country.
The 24-year-old woman, known only as 'A', was convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs in 2005.
While serving her sentence at HMP Downview, in Surrey, she had relationships with women and now claims to have fallen in love with a fellow inmate.
Her lawyer has said she will be in danger of being killed if she is returned to Jamaica as one of her co-accused will reveal her sexual orientation. He added that her human rights will be violated if she is deported.
Jamaica is known to be one of the most hostile countries in the world towards lesbians and gays.
Gay sex between two men can carry a ten-year jail sentence or hard labour. Sex between two women is currently legal but many lesbians face persecution.
'A' was served with a deportation notice earlier this year. She is now challenging the decision of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal at London’s Court of Appeal.
However, the Home Office has said her lesbianism is a ruse in order to stay in the country and suggested she only had relationships with women because there were no men in prison.
Carine Patry Hoskins, representing the Home Office at the Court of Appeal, said: “If she wanted to be sexually active, there was no other option. There was no other choice but celibacy.”
She added that the woman had previously had relationships with men and that the lesbian relationship was “part and parcel of a campaign to be allowed to stay in the UK”.
Anisa de Jong, executive director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, told PinkNews.co.uk: "[We do] not comment on individual cases, and therefore we can not make any statement about whether what is reported about this case is factually correct or not.
"Our general response to the news report is that sexuality is not fixed and it is not uncommon for lesbian (or bisexual) women to have had sexual relationships with men in the past.
"This in itself does not reduce the risk they run in their country of origin where someone who is known to have had same-sex sexual relationships is likely to be perceived of - and treated - as a lesbian.
"The information we have, and our experience with clients from Jamaica, indicate that women who are known or perceived to be lesbian, are not safe, and run a high risk of experiencing violence, rape and other forms of persecution."