Ugandan woman branded by iron over sexuality faces deportation from UK
Summary of story from The Guardian, May 31, 2011
A Ugandan woman who was branded with a hot iron in her home country as a punishment for her sexuality, is facing forced removal from the UK.
Last week, the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said that the coalition had ended the practice of deporting people to countries where they face persecution because of their sexual orientation.
But Betty Tibikawa, 22, who is detained in Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre in Bedford, is awaiting removal directions after her asylum claim was refused.
Human rights organisations have consistently documented abuses against gay men and lesbians in Uganda and say that it’s one of the most dangerous countries in the world for gay people.
Tibikawa had just finished high school and was due to go to university in Kampala when she was attacked by three men who taunted her about her sexuality.
They pinned her down in a disused building and branded her on her inner thighs with a hot iron.
They left her unconscious and when she finally managed to get home she was confined to bed for two months. An independent medical report has confirmed that her scars are consistent with being branded with a hot iron.
“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.
“I was ‘outed’ in a Ugandan magazine called Red Pepper in February of this year saying that I’m wanted for being a lesbian,” she said. “This has put my life at increased risk.”