Kenneth Macharia, 39, has lost a legal battle to stay in the UK. The rugby player faces deportation to Kenya where as a gay man, he is vulnerable to prosecution under laws which could imprison him for holding hands or kissing someone of the same gender.
He first came to the UK a decade ago on a student visa for engineering but claimed asylum in 2016 after a request for a work permit was denied.
A petition trying to stop his deportation has reached 118,500 signatures, while £8,270 has been raised through crowdfunding to support his legal fees.
Today his club penned this emotional letter:
Bristol Bisons statement on the letter from The Home Office to our friend and Club member Ken Macharia:
Our clubs very existence is to support LGBT+ people and their allies to be who they are and to play the sport they love. This is the reason Ken joined our club nearly 3 years ago.
The Home Office’s decision to refuse asylum to Ken on the grounds that it is safe to be a homosexual in Kenya; despite the threat of 21 years imprisonment, reports of attacks and rapes on the LGBT+ community and no legal protection against homophobia or discrimination in Kenya, is completely abhorrent.
This week the Home Office changed its logo to include the pride flag and colours in support of pride month and yet; behind closed doors, has treated our friend like this. For this reason The Bisons will not be displaying the pride colours until The Home Office either grants Ken asylum, or removes the pride colours from their logo.
This week The Bristol Bisons will travel to Dublin to attend the Union Cup – a tournament designed to celebrate inclusive rugby. We are all terrified that Ken will not be here when we return.
Ken is due to report to Bridgewater Police Center on Bristol Road tomorrow at 11am as he must register as an Asylum seeker every month. We expect the Home Office to detain Ken when he arrives. We have not had any comment from his MP, James Heappey
Our Club Captain will be supporting Ken with a few friends of the Bisons – and we would like you to join us.
If you’re available – please meet us to support Ken outside Bridgwater Police Center at 10:30am, in time for Ken to register at 11am. We will be be wearing our club colour, Pink, so please feel free to do the same.
Bristol Bisons Committee 05.06.19