British LGBT and civil rights activists are outraged after the Home Office has begun deportation procedures against Edson Cosmas, a 28-year-old Tanzanian student and gay activist. Cosmas escaped to the UK in 2006 after "beatings, stoning and other assaults for his sexual orientation. His family disowned him, in part to protect themselves from persecution."
On Monday 9th May, Eddy went to the Home Office in Croydon to submit an initial claim for asylum, and to take a screening interview. ... A ruling from the Supreme Court in July 2010 ordered that gay people could not be sent back to countries where they would face persecution for their sexuality. With this in mind, Eddy was understandably shocked when, at the end of his interview, he was detained and put into the back of a van.
Only then was he told that he was being taken to Harmondsworth detention centre. When I spoke to Edson in his cell at Harmondsworth on Thursday evening, via mobile phone, he sounds tired and frustrated, but determined to resist deportation. "I’ve been here for ten days,” Eddy tells me. “They call it a ‘detention centre’, but really it is like a jail. We are locked up, and followed everywhere by security."
"If I am sent back to Tanzania," Eddy says on the phone, "I am facing being beaten, or death. The immigration officials told me that they didn’t believe me; I said to them, I am the one that has lived in Tanzania, not you, so how can you tell me whether this is true or not?"
"I am gay and I am afraid to come back to Tanzania," Cosmas told The Voice, Britain's Black newspaper. "They can even kill me or torture me."
Cosmas received a letter turning down his application on May 18, "just nine days after being seized and two days after doing a second immigration interview," reports The Voice. The next hearing is scheduled for May 24.