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Thursday, 29 September 2011

David Mugerwa was removed to Uganda last night

David Mugwera
By Paul Canning

The Ugandan asylum seeker David Mugerwa was removed last night. At the time of writing he is being interrogated by Ugandan Immigration Police at Entebbe airport.

We wrote about David's case on Monday.

Since Monday, new evidence establishing David's sexuality has come forward however, because of the lack of time available since we became aware of the case, although this evidence was submitted yesterday afternoon to UK Border Agency, it was too late to stop the removal. Although David resisted he was handcuffed and otherwise restrained.

His friends are trying to ensure that he is met at the airport, however David was told he was not welcome in his home area, a suburb of Kampala, and members of his family also did not want him to return.

Even if he relocates, it will be impossible for David to be openly gay in Uganda and not face threats from society and also possible arrest. Even as a closeted gay man he will face questioning and possible real threats to his life.

There are a number of disturbing aspects to this case, such as his lawyer not being informed he was detained, as well as unfortunate ones, such as David not finding or realising he did have evidence of his sexuality until too late. In many ways the case is unfortunately typical of how LGBT asylum seekers are failing to receive sanctuary, how - for whatever reasons - the system is failing them. How we are still sending them back when it is not safe to do so.

This is a complicated case but nevertheless all too typical. We hope to look in more detail about both what happened and, with David's cooperation, also look at what he now faces in Uganda. 

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