Socialist Worker

Why is Home Office deporting gay man to Tanzania?

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2254

Edson (centre) earlier this year

Edson (centre) earlier this year

The Home Office rejected a gay Tanzanian’s appeal to stay in Britain on Friday of last week.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) is trying to deport Edson Cosmas back to east Africa where he faces arrest and persecution.

UKBA stated that it does not believe Edson is gay, because of “inconsistencies” in his testimony.

The judgement says, “Your claim that gay people in Tanzania are able to meet with random people by ‘accident’, speak to them about their sexuality, find out if they are gay or not and then have a one night stand with them is considered to be inconsistent with the rest of your claim, which is based mainly on the persecutory treatment gays in Tanzania receive.”

It suggests that LGBT people will not find ways of expressing their sexuality in a country where homosexuality is outlawed.

The UKBA says there have been few prosecutions of LGBT people. However Tanzanian activists say they are usually arrested under prostitution, indecency and vagrancy laws.

Edson came to study in Britain in 2006 and says that he previously faced beatings and threats.

He tried to claim asylum on 9 May and was seized and taken to Harmondsworth detention centre.

His supporters are preparing a request for reconsideration. In Tanzania, male homosexuality can carry a 14-year prison sentence—a law introduced while Tanzania was a British colony.

In 2004, Zanzibar, a federal part of Tanzania, which had not had the colonial legal system, made homosexuality illegal for the first time with a maximum sentence of 25 years.

The government promised last year that no one would be deported if likely to face persecution for their sexuality.

Sign the petition:–-gay-tanzanian-activist-detained.html

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Tue 31 May 2011, 18:33 BST
Issue No. 2254
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