Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Nigerian lesbian sends UK Home Office explicit video in bid to avoid deportation


NIGERIAN asylum seeker Aderonke Apata has taken the unprecedented step of sending a video of herself having sex to the Home Office to prove she is homosexual in a desperate attempt to avoid being deported.

Ms Apata, 47, is the subject of an ongoing battle against deportation as in April this year, campaigners collected over 230,000 signatures for a petition to Home Secretary Theresa May in a fight to stop her being returned to Nigeria. A gay rights activist, Ms Apata fled to the UK after she was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death in Nigeria for being a lesbian.

However, Ms May has rejected her application for asylum and in a bid to enhance her case, Ms Apata has sent the Home Office an explicit video proving that she is indeed a lesbian. Exasperated with the stance of the Home Office, Ms Apata feels she has tried everything else to prove she is gay including sending letters from former girlfriends both in Britain and Nigeria.

Following the refusal of the Home Office to budge, when decided that the only way of providing a judge with irrefutable evidence that she is gay was by sending a very personal home video. In the video, Ms Apata is seen sitting with her girlfriend, Happiness Agboro, in a bar on Manchester’s Canal Street.

 Ms Apata, said: “I was asked to bring my supporting documents for my judicial review for the court to look at. What evidence do we have to compile apart from letters from people?

" I knew we had a home video of ourselves, so I thought why not just put it in? I cannot afford to go back to my county where I will be tortured, so if I have to prove it with a sexual video, then I have to do it."

Ms Apata's experience is echoed by many lesbian gay bisexual and transgender asylum-seekers in Britain who are having to go to extreme lengths to persuade sceptical immigration officers of their sexuality. However, Ms Apata still feels distraught at having to share such an intimate record of her personal life.

She added: “I feel so bad it’s got to this stage. It’s such a desperate and precarious situation to be in, very dangerous, because anything could happen to those pictures, those videos.”

When Ms Apata came to the UK from Nigeria in 2004, her asylum claim was on religious grounds as she came from a Christian family but had married a Muslim man in what she says was a sham arrangement to cover up her long-term relationship with another woman. According to Ms Apata, her husband’s family turned against her as they suspected she was gay and they took her to a Sharia court, where she was sentenced to death for adultery.

She added that her brother and three-year-old son were killed in related vigilante incidents. Ms Apata ran away and went into hiding after two appeals for asylum were rejected, living on the streets in Manchester to make sure she would not be deported.

In 2012, after being caught working as a care manager with a false visa, she tried again to apply for asylum, saying she feared returning to Nigeria and being persecuted for her sexuality. Her latest asylum claim was also rejected, despite the fact that Ms Apata gave testimony that her ex-girlfriend in Nigeria was killed in a vigilante attack in 2012 and the country’s law now punishes homosexuality with up to 14 years’ imprisonment.

A judicial review has now been granted in her case Ms Apata is hopeful she will finally have the right to live freely in Britain with her girlfriend. She added that the threat of deportation has proved too much and she has recently been hospitalised with complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

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