A gay man from Uganda has been released from a UK immigration centre, where he faced being deported back to the homophobic country, where he fears for his life.
35 year old Robert Kityo came to Britain five years ago as a student, after suffering persecution from police in Uganda. But after his studies finished, he was denied asylum here, with the Home Office suggesting that he could return to his country to live "discreetly". On Tuesday he was detained by immigration officials in Manchester, where he has been living, and where he has become well known as a gay rights activist.
An online petition to grant Kityo asylum gathered more than 1,350 signatures in just a couple of days
, and his legal team warned officials that they would apply for a judicial review. He has now been released from Pennine House immigration detention centre, near Manchester Airport.
The Rev Andy Braunston, former pastor at the Metropolitan Church in Chorlton which Kityo attends, spoke to the Manchester Evening News, saying
: “It’s fantastic news that Robert is about to be released from immigration detention. My guess is that someone at the Home Office has looked at his file and realised he has a valid claim which needs proper determination once the letter before action was sent. I’m cynical, and I fear a new refusal could be issued.”
Uganda is one of the least tolerant countries in the world, where being gay is illegal, and is punished with life imprisonment. Those touted as being gay are often revealed in the press, and face brutality and persecution.