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Flora Seggane of Leyton fled persecution in Uganda in 2002
A lesbian facing deportation to Uganda says she fears for her life if she is forced to return to her homeland.
Flora Seggane, of Francis Road in Leyton, fled the country in 2002 and moved to the UK on a two-year working visa after being disowned by her family because of her sexuality.
The 55-year-old claims her family previously tried to “cure” her sexuality by dosing her with medicines and she was forced her into marriage at the age of 18, enduring 20 years of abuse at the hands of her husband.
A bill outlawing homosexuality was recently passed into law in the east African state and there are widespread reports of gay people being attacked.
Ms Seggane is currently being held in an immigration removal centre and being fast-tracked for deportation. She was detained after recently applying for asylum.
She said she did not seek asylum before as she was too afraid to seek help from Africans in the UK and did not realise her sexuality could be grounds for her to be granted leave to remain in London.
Recounting her experiences in her homeland, she said: “I got caught at school with another girl and they told my parents. That’s when they started cutting my wrists and giving me medicines to try and cure me for being a lesbian.
"The discrimination is terrifying. If they learn that you are gay, you will be imprisoned and tortured. They know my face and could easily kill me.”
Due to attitudes to homosexuality in Uganda, Ms Seggane has been rejected by her four children and says her picture was circulated on a poster in her home village.
She is active in a number of campaigns for the rights of LGBT asylum groups, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Out and Proud Diamond Group, and Raindows Across Borders.
In a letter to be presented to the Home office, Peter Tatchell wrote: “As well as threat of arrest and imprisonment, she would be in danger of violent assault by homophobic mobs and Ugandan police mostly fail to protect LGBT people from homophobic violence.”
Leyton MP John Cryer has said he will discuss the case with the Home Office.
He said: “This morning I have liaised with her solicitor and will be making urgent representations to the Home Office about the case.
“All the merits and grounds of her case need to be considered and it is not acceptable that the Home Office are trying to fast-track deportation.”
Ms Seganne has a meeting scheduled with the Home Office tomorrow.
The Home Office said it does not comment on individual cases.
A spokeswoman added: “"The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it and we consider every claim for asylum on its individual merits.”
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