The administration of controversial U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to send a lesbian woman back to the country where she was subjected to a brutal rape.
The woman, who was raped when she was found with her girlfriend is now being forced to face the prospect of being returned to the very place it happened; the place where she could be put to death because of nothing more than her sexuality.
The woman, who is named only as L, fled from her home country, Uganda, to the United States in 2016, after a group of men caught her making love to her girlfriend in a local hotel room.
The men proceeded to beat the two women and tried to kill them, according to the DailyBeast. Lucky for them, someone at the hotel called the police and they were able to escape with their lives. However, the very police that ‘saved’ them then too proceeded to beat the women for, as they saw it, behaving immorally.
L states that even her own parents encouraged the police to beat her so that she would become an upright citizen and not participate in lesbian sex again.
L and the woman she was caught with, who is known only as E were both, eventually, released from prison, but not long after moving to a new part of the country to start over again, L’s father hired a man to rape her at her address in order to ‘fix’ her sexual behavior with women.
This is something known as “corrective rape” and it is one of the most brutal forms of punishment committed against LGBT people in Uganda and other parts of the world where homosexuality is either completely illegal or strongly disapproved of. Many people have, with the help of political asylum lawyers, been forced to flee their home countries because of such punishments. Unfortunately, L’s decision to flee to the US might mean that, unlike many of them, she will have to go back. Right now, being gay is illegal in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa, so she would still be at great risk if forced to return.
Intended to Make Her Pregnant
In a court hearing, it was said that L’s rape was intended to make her pregnant, so that she would no longer be homosexual. Surprisingly, Ugandan law surrounding homosexuality is founded in British colonial laws against practices they termed ‘buggery’. However, the Ugandan government has, in recent years, made the punishment for such behaviors even more brutal than they once were. Back in 2004, they made homosexuality punishable by life in prison.
Arrested for Rape
After she was raped, L reported the incident to the local police force, but she herself was the one arrested for sodmy – something which resulted from allegations made by her own family.
After again being forced to spend time in prison for simply being who she was, L was again beaten by the police force and it is when she was finally released from that ordeal that she decided to flee from the country that had always been here home. She decided to head to Seattle, Washington where she had a cousin.
L was granted a visa and made it safely to Dulles Airport in Virginia. Despite this fact, she was obtained by the Customs and Border Protection officials present and accused of lying about her circumstances to obtain the valid student visa she held in her hands. This happened after a plane ticket to Seattle was found in her possession.
L was at this time suffering from PTSD, so she did not tell the CBP the real reason for her trip to the United States or why she could not go back to Uganda. Instead, L agreed with the accusations they made against her and told them she felt safe returning to her home county.
This was a mistake because refugees who identify as LGBT have been able to seek asylum if they are in fear of their life since 1994. Luckily, during this period, Hassan Ahmad, L’s cousin, an immigration attorney working in North Virginia had been contacted by L’s cousin and told about her situation.
He was able to explain to the authorities the trauma that she had been putten through back in Uganda, stating that it was not safe for her to return at that time. He also claims that he asked the CBP supervisor at Dulles to grant L a credible fear interview – this is denied by the supervisor and since this is the first step to getting asylum in the United States, it has made things very difficult for L’s case.
Unfortunately, the CBP said they would not grant any further requests for such an interview and they had no plans to reconsider her asylum status. As a result, she was forced to board a flight back to Uganda.
When her flight reached Dubai, however, L made the decision to hide in a toilet at the airport until her flight back home had taken off. From there, she texted my Ahmad, who contacted the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and relayed her situation to them.
L waited at the Dubai airport, where she was looked after by people from the UN, eventually spending several weeks in Dubai before flying to Kenya. Unfortunately, Kenya is also very harsh on homosexuality and anyone caught practising it can be sentenced to five years in prison.
As of now, L’s fight for what many believe is her right to live in the United States continues, but it looks to be an uphill struggle with the Trump administration showing now signs of being convinced by her plight.
Despite that, many of her supporters remain hopeful. They remind themselves that LGBT asylum seekers and immigrants have been welcomed in the US for 23 years and that the well-founded fear of persecution that is a prerequisite of being granted asylum is present in her case.
L did, after all, grow up in Uganda – a place where views against homosexuality have been getting steadily worse for many years, and she was almost killed. So, there is every possibility that a good immigration lawyer could help to convince the majority.