BBC South Today report
UPDATE, 18 September: A number of websites have reported on developments, including Liberal Conspiracy and LibDem Voice.
UPDATE, 14 September: Robert's case will be in court 4
UPDATE, 12 September: Robert was released from detention last week. We now know why. His case was accepted as not being suitable for the fast track and this was 'due to complexity and merits of the case' - a complete turn around in attitude. His asylum application is still refused but has been accepted as a fresh claim with a right of appeal. Robert's lawyers have now lodged an appeal and are awaiting a Notice of Hearing with the appeal date.
This would not be happening if a campaign had not happened for Robert. He would be on a plane to Uganda and we would be organising protection from violence and extortion at the airport and then a safe house. Despite that he could have been picked up police and re-imprisoned. LGBT Asylum News thanks everyone who has helped and pays tribute to the office of Mike Hancock MP and Ugandan refugee John Bosco in particular.
UPDATE, 5 September: Robert has been released from detention. He was not given a reason. He has been told to report weekly to a police station.
UPDATE, 1 September: An appeal has gone in today. For more on the latest from the Home Office see 'How the Home Office is misusing law in gay Ugandan asylum seeker case'.
UPDATE, 26 August: The fresh representations including new evidence, Bishop Senyonjo's statement, MPs statement etc., have been refused by the Home Office.
A legal appeal is being prepared.
Robert's case has been published in the Ugandan media.
UPDATE, 18 August: 7.15pm - We won.
Robert's removal was deferred by the Home Office in a message to his lawyer less than a hour before he was due to be flown to Kampala. An earlier request to a judge for an injunction to stop the removal was refused.
This is a battle victory - but we have not won the war. The Home Office can still refuse to accept the fresh evidence and his asylum claim and issue new removal instructions. However his supporters will fight this and will argue that Robert's mental state and his post-traumatic stress means he should be released from detention, as well as that his claim must be given a proper hearing.
Statement by Mike Hancock MP.
Robert's removal has been confirmed by Home Office.
Fresh legal representations for Robert have been made
New media coverage on Japanese TV, BBC, Huffington Post (front page), pinknews.co.uk, Miami Herald, Advocate and Portsmouth local radio.
Petition over 3,500.
Kenya Airways is refusing to respond to any inquiries regarding Robert.
UPDATE, 17 August: Fresh legal representations for Robert are to be made tomorrow. As of the end of today the petition to the Home Secretary is now over 3,200, to Kenya Airways over 500.
Gay Kenya has tried to get a response from Kenya Airways. They said:
'Sorry, we cannot do that. The flight has already been booked and we are not the ones who did it. You should be asking those in charge of that case.' Dead line.New media coverage in Sydney Star Observer, Liberal Conspiracy, Eklesia, Xtra, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News and change.org.
Mike Hancock MP has issued a new press release, drawing attention to the evidence of Robert being tortured and to the statement that it is unsafe to return Robert, made by Bishop Senyonjo.
"As with all my constituents all I want is proper consideration of their case and the proper laws and regulations applied. It is very clear that they haven’t been properly applied in Mr Segwanyi’s case and I hope that his lawyers can now challenge this and get proper legal consideration. Amazingly and bizarrely the Home Office still say there is no persecution of gay men in Uganda, both now and when Mr Segwanyi was in Uganda when their own country report flatly contradicts this. Looking at the case overall, I have massive concerns about the case and I also believe that Mr Segwanyi’s case “stacks up” and I don’t say either of these things lightly. As the Bishop says, it would now be dangerous to deport Mr Segwani and this is shown by what happened to John Bosco Nyombi."
UPDATE, 16 August: Over 750 have now signed the petition. The flight information is 8pm, 18 August Kenya Airways KQ410. Petition targeting Kenya Airways.
pinknews has published a new story - this is in addition to previous media coverage.
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo has put forward a statement which says:
"The situation of LGBT in Uganda is dire and getting worse. People are being attacked, harassed and we face the revival of the Anti-Homosexuality bill in the Parliament."
"Ordinary people are being forced to move because their fellow Ugandans are attacking them: there is a 'witch-hunt' atmosphere regarding LGBT in the country which is unfortunately being encouraged by many of my fellow Christian leaders."
"It is not safe to return anyone who is LGBT or perceived to be LGBT to Uganda."~~
This is despite evidence that Robert is "obviously gay", despite a highly respected psychologist Professor Cornelius Katona saying he is gay and suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from his treatment in Uganda, and despite the backing of Robert's MP, Mike Hancock.
Please help by signing the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/save-gay-ugandan-robert-segwanyi or by contacting Home Secretary Theresa May personally. And by passing on this message to your friends and contacts.
The UKBA, in writing to Hancock, is standing by an Immigration Judge's decision last year that:
"Even if I am wrong regarding the Appellant's homosexuality I see no reason to depart from the [then] current country guidance" - this guidance being that "the evidence does not establish that in general there is persecution of homosexuality (sic) in Uganda".This country guidance was changed in April and now reflects the actual situation for gays in Uganda.
Ugandan gay refugee John Bosco met Robert before he was in Haslar detention centre near Portsmouth and has remained in phone contact. He says:
"Robert is in tears and terrified."John says:
"It's a really bad time for him and as a gay Ugandan, I know how hard it is to be gay in Uganda as I was arrested and tortured by police. Many people have been beaten by the public as soon as you have been labelled being gay. When I was deported by the British, you handed me back to government officers and this is what exactly happened to me. I was beaten up really badly. "
"I was lucky that I had friends here in UK who gave me some money which I used to bribe the police, but Robert doesn't have many friends as he has not been here long enough to make friends and most of the time he has been in detention centres."
"When I met him face to face, it was obvious that Robert is gay. The way he was talking, the mannerism and mentioning some of Ugandan gay guys I from Uganda. Robert told me what he has been through and from my experience I knew it did happen to him as it happened to me when people in Uganda came to know about my sexuality."
|Some of Robert's scars|
He has been refused a fair consideration of his case. His campaigners are supporting him in keeping him safe in the UK. We are urging the Home Secretary to re-examine his case and give him protection in the UK.
- Sign the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/save-gay-ugandan-robert-segwanyi
Rt. Hon Theresa May, MPPlease don't forget to quote Robert's Home Office reference number which is # S1457269
Secretary of State for the Home Department,
2 Marsham St
London SW1 4DF
Fax: 020 7035 4745
For further information or media enquiries contact:
Paul Canning, Editor, LGBT Asylum News
Mike Hancock CBE MP
023 92 861055