By Thom Senzee
Originally published on Advocate.com June 11 2014 8:13 PM ET
A lesbian woman who was due to be deported to Uganda, where persecution of LGBT people is rampant and increasing in the wake of a draconian antigay law passed earlier this year, was granted a reprieve earlier this week as British Home Office officials review her application for asylum, according to Pink News.
The hold on Harriet Nakigudde's deportation may signal that the Home Office is giving greater weight to political asylum claims asserted by LGBT people from Uganda, since that East African country enacted its Anti-Homosexuality Act in February. The law calls for life in prison for most sexual conduct between consenting, adult same-sex partners. It also criminalizes any alleged intent to "promote" homosexuality, and imposes seven-year jail terms on straight Ugandans who support, house, or work with LGBT people.
Edwin Sesange, director of Out and Proud Diamond Group, told PinkNews that he and his colleagues were, "grateful for the support given to Harriet by the British public and all the people around the world who have signed her petition." Sesange's London-based group offers help to African LGBTI people facing persecution inside and outside of Africa.
He went on to call on government officials to release Nakigudde from immigration detention.
"I thank the U.K. Government for agreeing to review her case," Sesange said. "We strongly urge them to grant Harriet refugee status, so she can live her life without fear of being persecuted because of her sexuality, and we urge them to release her immediately from Yarlswood Detention Centre.”
Pink News notes that Nakigudde previously collapsed as British officials attempted put her on a flight back to Uganda in May.