UK judge says asylum seeker faked being lesbian despite sex tape


The court found that Aderonke Apata pretended to be a lesbian

A British High Court has dismissed an appeal by a Nigerian LGBT asylum seeker, concluding that she pretended to be lesbian in order to stay in the UK.

Aderonke Apata, 47, came to the UK more than a decade ago after she fled Nigeria because of her sexual orientation.

She’s been threatened with deportation as Home Office officials do not believe that she is gay, even though she has won awards for her work as an LGBT rights campaigner and is engaged to a woman.

In 2014, it was reported that she went so far as to submit a sex tape she shot with her partner in an effort to convince the authorities of her sexual orientation.

This, along with letters from former partners and statements from friends, appears to have had little impact.

Deputy High Court Judge John Bowers has now agreed with an earlier finding that Apata’s lesbian sexuality was not genuine and had been fabricated in order to claim asylum.

According to the Electronic Immigration Network (EIN), he said that Apata’s same-sex relationships and her adoption of lesbian “customs, dress and mores” were purely part of the fabrication to gain refugee status.

The Home Office also argued that because Apata had children and previous heterosexual relationships she couldn’t be gay. While the judge didn’t agree with this line of reasoning he still didn’t believe she is a lesbian.

Over 300,000 people have signed two petitions calling for Apata to remain in the UK, both of which were dismissed by Judge Bowers.

He did, however, grant her leave to appeal and her case will now be considered by the Court of Appeal.

Gay sex is illegal in Nigeria with penalties including 14 years imprisonment. Twelve northern states in Nigeria also operate under Islamic Sharia law that allows homosexuality to be punished with death by stoning.

The Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act further outlaws any kind of same-sex relationships with imprisonment, and criminalises anyone who supports or operates gay clubs, societies or organisations.

The UK has been criticised for making it extraordinarily difficult for LGB asylum seekers from countries where they face persecution to convince officials that they are gay, lesbian or bisexual.

A 2013 report revealed that a number of gay and lesbian asylum seekers in the UK had been forced to present “photographic and video evidence of highly personal sexual activity to caseworkers, presenting officers and the judiciary” to “prove” their sexuality.

In February, the UK’s Home Office announced that people seeking asylum on the basis of their sexual orientation will no longer be asked sexually explicit questions.

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