Ken Macharia, the gay player with inclusive rugby club Bristol Bisons who has been fighting for asylum in the UK, says he is feeling “hopeless and depressed” after being told that he has lost his deportation battle.
Macharia, who moved to Britain a decade ago, now faces being sent back to Kenya, where same-sex relationships are illegal and can be punished with heavy jail sentences.
The mechanical engineer was granted bail from an immigration removal centre in November last year – after being detained for two weeks.
After receiving news from the Home Office it had revoked his right to stay in the UK, friends and family say he may be detained imminently and sent back to Kenya.
On 3 June 2019, Ken received news from the Home Office that they were revoking his right to stay in the UK. Therefore he may be detained imminently by the Home Office, and then sent to Kenya, where he would face homophobic persecution and discrimination.
– CHANGE.ORG PETITION PAGE
- WHAT’S THE LAW IN KENYA?
While identifying as LGBTQ is not banned, the nation maintains some laws from when it was under British colonial rule including the so-called sodomy offence.
Section 162 of its penal code criminalises “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature”, which is used to ban private acts of gay sex.
It is with a heavy heart that Kenneth received this letter from the home office today and has been told he will not be allowed to stay home in the UK. The fight is not over and we need your support to keep Ken home with his friends and family. pic.twitter.com/tGm8txAgaD— Bristol Bisons RFC (@bisonsrfc) June 3, 2019
The punishment is up to 14 years’ imprisonment.
Section 165 also targets public acts of “gross indecency” between two men and carries up to five years’ jail-time.
This can include affectionate acts such as kissing or holding hands.