The Red Pepper newspaper that
outed Betty Tibikawa.
A woman, who was branded with a hot iron for being a lesbian in Uganda, faces being forcibly returned to her homeland by UK authorities after her asylum application was rejected.
Betty Tibikawa, a 22 year old lesbian, was outed by the notorious anti-gay Ugandan Red Pepper tabloid in February. Shortly after, as she was preparing to start university in Kampala, she was attacked by three men.
They mocked her about her sexuality and then held her down in an abandoned building and branded her on her inner thighs with a hot iron, leaving her at first unconscious and then bed-ridden for two months.
Despite medical reports confirming her injuries, the UK’s Border Agency has refused to grant Tibikawa asylum.
Officials have not accepted her claims that she is lesbian and faces danger and persecution if she is returned to Uganda.
‘This has put my life at increased risk’
“I can’t sleep and I’m having terrible nightmares about what will happen to me if I’m sent back to Uganda. My family have disowned me because I’m a lesbian and I’m convinced I’d be killed if I’m sent home,” she told the Guardian newspaper.
“I was ‘outed’ in a Ugandan magazine called Red Pepper in February of this year saying that I’m wanted for being a lesbian. This has put my life at increased risk.”
Tibikawa’s story has once again highlighted the UK’s appalling asylum system which has repeatedly refused to accept claims by refugees that they face harm because of their sexuality if returned to their homelands.
Tibikawa is being detained at the Yarl’s Wood immigration centre in Bedford pending her deportation.
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, with penalties including life imprisonment.