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Gay rugby player Kenneth Macharia loses asylum bid

FACING DEPORTATION: Kenneth Macharia

A GAY rugby player from Kenya has lost his asylum bid after a three-year deportation fight.

Kenneth Macharia, 39, who came to the UK from Kenya 10 years ago to study for a masters, applied for asylum on the basis of his sexuality and the prospect of persecution in his home country.

In Kenya, gay sex is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

In a letter from the Home Office, sent to Macharia at the end of last month, he was informed that his application for asylum had been unsuccessful.

“Your further submissions have been fully considered and I have concluded that you do not quality for leave on any basis.

“You have no basis to continue to stay in the United Kingdom and you are expected to make arrangements to leave the United Kingdom without delay,” the letter states.

“I would like to thank the public, they have been giving me overwhelming support, signing my petition, written to their MPs. I was kind of hoping the Home Office would change their policy and implement the laws they have, but it seems they have not,” Macharia told ITV News.

He added: “In the UK I can live a gay life, in Kenya the law prohibits same-sex intimacy and also people are extremely homophobic.”

In a statement, Bristol Bisons rugby club described the Home Office’s refusal of its teammate’s application as “abhorrent”.

It said: “The Home Office's decision to refuse asylum to Ken on the grounds that it is safe to be a homosexual in Kenya, despite 21 years imprisonment, reports of attacks and rapes on LGBT+ people and no legal protection against discrimination in Kenya, is completely abhorrent.”

The club also criticised the government for displaying pride colours but failing to grant Macharia asylum in light of his sexuality and fears for his safety.

“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.”

More than 120,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Home Office to overturn its decision and grant Macharia asylum.

Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas tweeted a link to the petition and urged people to sign it to “keep Ken home”.

Bristol Bisons say they suspect the Home Office will detain Macharia when he registers at Bridgewater police station tomorrow morning.

They have appealed for supporters to join them outside the station and wear pink.

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