Brenda Namigadde, the 29-year-old Ugandan woman living in Britain who initially scored a reprieve from deportation by claiming her homosexuality would subject her to threats and violence, has renewed her appeal to avoid being shipped off. And it curiously leaves out any mention that she’s a lesbian — only that she’s been reported in the press to be one.
Now that she’s been slapped with the “lesbian” title, Namigadde remains at risk, the Telegraph relays.
Her legal team managed to secure a last-minute delay in her removal from Britain by arguing that as a homosexual she would be at risk of persecution in her African homeland. But now lawyers acting for the woman, who can be identified only as “BN”, have submitted a new appeal on her behalf – which no longer hinges on her sexuality. Instead, they say that because she has appeared in newspapers claiming to be gay, she would inevitably be at risk in Uganda whatever her true sexual orientation.
How come? Because a judge handling the case ruled Namigadde isn’t gay at all.
Earlier this month this newspaper revealed how she was unable to remember the surname, age, employer or other details of a woman with whom she claimed she had a six-year relationship in Uganda. Nor could she describe a lesbian bar in London that she claimed she visited regularly.
BN came to Britain in 2002 and overstayed her visa, later lodging an asylum claim. She claimed to have been beaten and victimised over her sexuality. The Home Office refused her claim and began deportation proceedings. Last December, immigration judge Toby Davey ruled that BN should be sent back to Uganda. He criticised the 28-year-old for a “lack of candour” over her sexuality, and concluded: “I find that the appellant was and is not, on the evidence before me, a lesbian.” Yet following the ruling, BN secured sympathetic coverage in several newspapers. Her lawyers, Luton-based Cardinal Solicitors, were quoted on the dangers she allegedly faced, and BN herself gave interviews from inside Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre.
Now Namigadde’s lawyers claim “the credibility of the applicant’s sexuality … is entirely irrelevant to the risk … that the applicant will face. … The risk derives from a widespread national public perception of the applicant being homosexual.” Which, uh, she and her representatives, it appears, conveniently manufactured. In which case: shame on them. Because while Namigadde may have decent reasons to want to stay in Britain and away from her homeland, gaming the system — and casting more speculation and cynicism on actual LGBTs who need the safe haven that asylum offers — hurts everyone.