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Rejected asylum seeker faces deportation despite rape claims

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Summary of story from Guardian, June 21, 2011

A Nigerian woman is due to be deported despite an ongoing investigation into allegations that she was raped in Britain.

The woman, 41, had her asylum claim rejected on the grounds that the evidence to support her claim was contradictory.

Women’s groups and her MP have called for the Home Office to defer her deportation until the investigation is concluded.

Thames Valley police say that the man she claims raped her has been arrested but was granted bail, pending further inquiries.

In a letter to her, seen by the Guardian, dated 6 June, police have told her that the investigation is continuing and that she should stay in touch via email if she is deported.

Kiki Axelsson, a spokeswoman for Women Against Rape, which is helping her with her case, said: “This woman was raped in the UK.

“She must not be deported before this serious crime is investigated, but the Home Office is refusing to stop her deportation.

“If deported, she would be unable to be a witness in any ongoing investigation or trial. In addition they are deporting a rape survivor to a situation where she is further at risk.”

The woman says she is a victim of forced marriage and was threatened with female genital mutilation by her husband’s family before being trafficked into Britain.

Her account of the rape, which happened in February this year but which she did not report until her claim was rejected, is being questioned as a result.

When asked about why she did not report the rape to the police earlier, she said she was afraid of the police and did not want her boyfriend to know because he would consider her “a dirty person” as a result.

She said she was given welfare advice at the detention centre and felt able to report the rape.

A spokeswoman for Thames Valley police said: “We can confirm that a rape has been reported to us and that [a] 41-year-old man was has arrested and released on bail till 11 July.”

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