Tag Archives: asylum

Immigration detention of Jimmy Kyesswa – 7th September 2016

Thursday 8th September 2016

Jimmy Kyesswa at Manchester Pride 2016

Jimmy Kyesswa at Manchester Pride 2016

We were informed on Thursday 8th September that Jimmy Kyesswa, who has been attending worship with our congregation regularly since November 2015, was detained by the Home Office when he routinely attended the Dallas Court Reporting Centre on Wednesday (7th).

Jimmy’s asylum case is complex and has suffered many refusals while Jimmy has been pursuing it through the appeal stages of the asylum process. He had recently been preparing a fresh asylum claim containing new evidence since his last refusal, and was due to present that claim in person at an arranged appointment with the Home Office in Liverpool on Monday 12th September.

However the decision was taken by the Home Office that he should be detained before he was able to submit his fresh claim. Accordingly, his solicitor submitted Jimmy’s claim as a matter of urgency in the hope that this may result in his release from detention while the fresh claim is considered.

Jimmy is presently held at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre, Swinderby (between Lincoln and Newark). He is able to receive calls and text messages on his mobile phone – 07459 515588 – and we invite Jimmy’s friends and supporters to send simple text messages of support to him while he awaits the outcome of his solicitor’s actions on his behalf. However, please do not expect a message in return as the usage allowance on Jimmy’s phone is limited and is needed for his essential dealings with his legal representatives.

Update: Wednesday 5th October

Jimmy has been told that his fresh claim has been rejected and that he has no right of appeal against the rejection. He remains in detention at Morton Hall, and his lawyer is investigating the possibility of submitting an application for a judicial review.

New website for the First Wednesday LGBT asylum seekers support and social group

First_Wednesday_rainbow_flag_vignetteThe preliminary work on the new website for the First Wednesday lgbt asylum seekers support and social group has been completed and the site has been launched at http://firstwednesday.lgbt

The website aims to be an information resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender asylum seekers in the Manchester area, and the content will be continually developed in line with the feedback we receive from new and existing members of the First Wednesday group, as well as from the partner organisations we work with.

Detention of gay asylum seeker Ludovic Hapi and risk of imminent removal to Cameroon

Logo_White_smallsizeLatest – Update August 2015

Ludovic appealed the latest refusal of his claim to a hearing of the asylum tribunal in Manchester and was granted leave to remain in August 2015.

 Now read on for the full story of Ludovic’s case:


As you may know, our church runs a social and support group for LGBT asylum seekers called First Wednesday.  One of our members, Ludovic Leudeu Hapi, is a gay man from Cameroon who fled here in 2008.  He cannot live openly as a gay man in Cameroon and he has already been arrested in Cameroon because he was in a bar which gay people used.

Thankfully he wasn’t, on that occasion, subjected to ill treatment but he did witness the murder of a gay friend who was killed by government forces and fears that if he were to be returned to Cameroon he would be in danger.

Ludovic has been attending our First Wednesday group for well over a year as well as the Manchester Icebreakers group for gay men.  He is a quiet, gentle person who is highly educated and would make a wonderful contribution to our national life.


The government have refused to believe that Ludovic is gay and he was detained on 2nd July 2014 when he reported routinely to the Dallas Court Immigration Reporting Centre in Salford as his appeals options had officially been exhausted.  After briefly being held initially in the Manchester area, Ludovic was transferred to Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre at Swinderby in Lincolnshire.

Removal Instructions

After detaining him for a month, the UK Borders Agency have issued Ludovic with removal instructions and plan to deport him from the UK tomorrow evening (Tuesday 5th August) via an 8pm Kenya Airways flight to from Heathrow to Nairobi (Kenya) and then an onward Kenya Airways flight to Yaounde (Cameroon).


Ludovic’s solicitors hope to submit a Judicial Review today (Monday) of this decision and have secured funding for that but, in the meantime, we’re asking you to contact the airline to try and persuade them not to take him.

Who To Contact:

Right to Remain offer the following two email addresses: contact@kenya-airways.com and ukres@kenya-airways.com  Please also email the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Airways, Mr Titus Naikuni via titus.naikuni@kenya-airways.com and use his name.

In Your Subject Line, please put the following information: Ludovic Hapi, KQ101 / KQ526, Tuesday 5th August

What to say:

  • Explain to the airline that the UK Borders Agency are trying to remove Ludovic against his will.
  • Explain he will be at risk in Cameroon simply because he is a gay man.
  • Explain this is a breach of his human rights and that he needs to stay in the UK in order to live his life without fear.
  • Keep it simple, clear and calm. It is UKBA who are responsible for the deportation, but you wish to raise your concerns (for the airline’s reputation, the individual being deported, and the other passengers on the flight) that the airline is involved in this act.

Please blind-copy us (pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk) into any emails you send so that we can keep track of how the campaign is going.

What Else You Can Do….

  • Please remember Ludovic, and his legal team, in your prayers.
  • You may wish to leave a comment on Kenya Airways Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/kenyaairwaysGB.  Remember to quote Ludovic’s name, flight and date of removal – Ludovic Hapi, KQ101 / KQ526, Tuesday 5th August
  • If you use Twitter, you may wish to tweet them – @KenyaAirways
  • Please also share this information far and wide and use Twitter and Facebook to push the details.  You will find all these details on our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/MetropolitanChurch

In love and service,

Andy Braunston
Pastor: Metropolitan Church (pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk)

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate: 5th August (1)

Ludovic sent us a text at 4am this morning saying that he was being transferred from Morton Hall to an Immigration Removal Centre in London (likely to be either Colnbrook or Harmondsworth, which are both adjacent to Heathrow Airport).

Ludovic’s solicitors will submit his Judicial Review application at 10am today (5th).  We hope it is sufficient to halt the removal process.  In the meantime the campaign with the airline continues.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate: 5th August (2)

Ludovic has had a fraught day – but his removal directions have been lifted!

We received a text at 4am telling us that the Home Office personnel had woken him up and told him to get ready to be moved from the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincolnshire to a Removal Centre in London – presumably in preparation for his deportation flight. He was driven to London later in the day and then back to Lincolnshire as his Removal Directions had been lifted during the day.

We’re not sure why the Removal Directions were lifted before his solicitor had actually submitted her application for a Judicial Review of his case.  It may be that the pre-action letter from his solicitors, indicating that a JR was being submitted, was enough to alert the Home Office to some of the errors they are making in his case.

The JR was formally submitted this morning (5th).  We don’t know how long it will take for the Home Office to reconsider, for the Judicial Review application to make its way through the courts, nor when Ludovic may be released or granted bail; but, in the meantime please keep him in your prayers.

Ludovic has asked us to thank everyone who has held him in their prayers and everyone who has written on his behalf to Kenya Airways.  It all makes such a difference.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 20th August

Ludovic has been released from immigration detention!

He was detained on 2nd July and the Home Office tried to deport him.  Legal moves, and a public campaign forced them to back down and now he’s been released.

He has no more news on his case, still has to report each week at Dallas Court Immigration Reporting Centre in Salford, but is relieved to be out.  He hopes to join us on Saturday at the Manchester Pride Parade.

Latest – Update August 2015

Ludovic appealed the latest refusal of his claim to a hearing of the asylum tribunal in Manchester and was granted leave to remain in August 2015.

Alain Kouayep Tchatchue detained by Borders Agency on 11th February 2014 – and threatened with deportation

Read the latest update here:

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 29th October

Today Alain learnt that he has been granted asylum in the United Kingdom!

He has asked us to thank everyone who has been involved in the case, particularly Andy, our pastor, who wrote one of the legal submissions which stopped the first deportation attempt. He hopes to move back to the North West.

It goes to show the amazing things we can do together and how when the dreadful actions of the Home Office are exposed we can win a victory. Please keep him in your prayers as now he learns to navigate the Department for Work and Pensions…

 Then read the whole story:

Logo_White_smallsize11th February 2014

Just as we celebrated the grant of asylum to one of our church members, and the Home Office’s decision to release another member from Yarl’s Wood, we’ve now heard that one of our newer attenders, Alain Kouayep Tchatchue, has been detained today (11th February) at Dallas Court Immigration Reporting Centre in Manchester.

Alain is a bisexual man who attends various lgbt groups in Manchester including the Metropolitan Church, the First Wednesday group for LGBT asylum seekers, and the Icebreakers group for gay/bi men run by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation. Alain is from Cameroon and has significant visual impairment. He’s a lovely younger guy whose first language is French, although his English is good enough for most circumstances.  He will be feeling very bewildered at the moment.

His solicitor informs us that a case has already been refused in a previous hearing. A bail application and a fresh claim are being prepared, but it will be a few days before that can happen.

It is difficult to judge how quickly Alain will be moved to an Immigration Removal Centre – normally detainees from Dallas Court are kept for a few days at Pennine House Immigration Detention Centre at Manchester airport before being moved down to a larger, longer-term detention centre.

Once we get contact details we will ask supporters to text Alain to keep up his spirits. In the meantime please keep him in your prayers.  We are not aware of any other organised campaigns in support of Alain’s case, but all enquiries and supporting information can be passed to us via email to pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 15th February – Urgent

As you know, Alain was detained this week and is now being held in at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre at Swinderby in Lincolnshire.  He has been served with removal directions and the Borders Agency plan to deport him back to Cameroon on Friday 21st February.

His solicitor seems not to be able to act for him as Alain is now held in detention, yet we are hearing that there is a two week wait to speak to a local solicitor.  We will be following this up on Monday but at the moment we have to act quickly if Alain is to have any chance in staying in the country.

We are asking you to do a number of things:

  • Firstly, pray for Alain at this time of great stress.
  • Secondly, please take the time to email Royal Air Maroc (details below).
  • Thirdly, please email the Home Secretary (details below).

Emailing Details:

What to write:

  • Introduce yourself and say what, if anything, you do for a living.
  • Say that you are writing as you are concerned about the imminent deportation to Cameroon, on Friday 21st Feb on Royal Air Maroc flight AT801, of Alain Kouayep Tchatchue.
  • In your email to Theresa May please quote his detention number: A5455DD.
  • Point out that Alain is a bisexual man who attends various lgbt groups in Manchester including the Metropolitan Church, the First Wednesday group for LGBT asylum seekers and the Icebreakers group for gay/bi men run by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation.
  • Say that gay and bisexual people – in fact anyone engaging in same-sex activity, or perceived as having done so – in Cameroon have their human rights violated, are subject to violence, torture and inhumane treatment and they are often murdered.
  • Say that Alain’s life is in danger if he were to be returned.
  • In your email to Royal Air Maroc, say that you are less likely to travel with this airline if the deportation goes ahead.
  • In your email to Theresa May say that any delay to get legal advice at the Immigration Removal Centre is a clear breach of his human rights and she should, immediately, look into his case.

Other Stuff

  • Please be polite and courteous in the tone of all your messages.
  • Please blind-copy Andy via pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk on any emails you send so that we can keep track of the progress of the campaign.
  • Please spread the word on Facebook and Twitter about Alain’s situation.  Royal Air Maroc have their own Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/RoyalAirMaroc where you can post a message on their timeline to draw attention to their part in Alain’s planned deportation.  They also have a Twitter account: @royalairmarocuk
  • You are welcome to link your social media postings to this page that you are currently reading.  We will add updates as we get them and if we become aware of other campaign activities relating to Alain’s case, we will link to them from here.  A shortened version of the link to this page, for use on social media, is http://wp.me/p4ReI-eC

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 18th February

As of midday today, we believe the plans for Alain’s deportation are still in place for Friday 21st, of which the first stage is the Royal Air Maroc flight AT801 from London Heathrow, departing 5.10pm and arriving in Casablanca at 8.30pm.  The Royal Air Maroc schedules indicate that they operate a daily flight (AT285) departing from Casablanca at 10.40pm and arriving in Douala (Cameroon) at 5.15am the next day.  We are assuming that this is the intended deportation plan.

We have been in touch with a volunteer Visitor Group which makes visits to detainees at Morton Hall in order to provide friendly reassurance and a listening ear.  However, their capacity for visits is already overstretched, and time is especially short in Alain’s case as he may be moved again at any time – probably one or two days before the planned deportation date in order to make the final stages of that process easier for the authorities.  We are sincerely grateful to the Morton Hall Detainee Visitor Group for looking into the possibility of offering a personal visit to Alain within this very tight and uncertain timescale.

A small team have been working in the background to collate new information and additional statements about Alain in the hope that a fresh claim may be possible in time to prevent the deportation.  Additionally, messages continue to be sent to the Home Secretary and to the CEO of Royal Air Maroc, and we are grateful for every intervention which so many people have made on Alain’s behalf.  (Details of how to participate in these campaigns are given in the update above.)

But in every respect we are now battling against the clock.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate (1) 19th February

Thanks to all those who have been helping by emailing Theresa May and Royal Air Maroc about Alain who is due to be deported on Friday.

A Fresh Claim has been submitted and we are told he’s due to see a Home Office officer today, but we’re not sure if this is in relation to the Fresh Claim or not.

Alain’s MP, Michael Meacher, has been pressing the UK Borders Agency to allow more time so that proper legal advice can be given but they are, so far, not budging.

We’ll keep you posted.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate (2) 19th February

We know from Alain’s MP that his case-holder at the Borders Agency has received Alain’s new claim.  Thanks to Michael Meacher MP for his interventions.

This evening, Alain has finally seen a lawyer and has signed a contract for the lawyer to act for him.  He has sent the lawyer the fresh claim that he submitted yesterday and we expect that the lawyer will make whatever further submissions need to be made.

There is no further news on the deportation plans at this time.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate (1) 20th February

Alain was moved from Morton Hall at 5.30am today.  He was due to see his new lawyer later today in an attempt to pursue his fresh claim further.  That opportunity has now been denied him.

We do not presently know where Alain is being held, however we have informed his MP of Alain’s removal from Morton Hall, and he is doing all he can to determine Alain’s exact circumstances at the present time.

Update (2) 20th February

Alain, who is due to be deported tomorrow, has been moved to the Immigration Removal Centre at Colnbrook which is within easy reach of Heathrow.

The Home Office have not yet made a decision about the Fresh Claim he made yesterday; our fear is that they will dismiss this at the last possible moment tomorrow. The solicitor he, finally, managed to engage yesterday now cannot act for him as he is no longer in Lincolnshire.

A woman from the Red Cross is now helping him to find legal representation to ensure that the Home Office look at his case properly. It is hard to deny that this is all game-playing to try and frustrate any legal moves to safeguard his rights.

Update (3) 20th February

Alain has an appointment at 12 noon tomorrow (21st) to see a solicitor at Colnbrook IRC whom the Red Cross have found for him. The solicitor has his papers and says the Home Office need at least three days to respond to a Fresh Claim – that will be up tomorrow.

It remains to be seen what, if anything, can still be done.  But the ways in which UKBA decisions have interfered in the continuity of Alain’s legal representation mean that time is rapidly running out.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 21st February

It’s been a whirlwind but Alain is safe!  He was told at lunchtime that the Borders Agency won’t be seeking to deport him today as planned.

What happens next?

Alain will probably remain in detention at Colnbrook IRC for the immediate future.  He was visited today at Colnbrook by a representative of the new solicitor who will be acting for him.  The solicitor is due to visit again on Monday in order to do additional work on Alain’s Fresh Claim for asylum.

The Border Agency have confirmed they received the Fresh Claim which Alain faxed to them.  The have to decide whether the claim is simply further submissions to an existing claim (which can easily be dismissed), or whether it is a Fresh Claim with new evidence (which takes longer to assess).  We are just grateful that, however they are approaching the claim, they have lifted today’s removal instructions.

Alain should be seeing his solicitor again on Monday (24th).  If it appears that it will take the Borders Agency some time to assess this claim, Alain should be entitled to bail.  If released he can gather further evidence of his gay identity in support of his new submission.


Thank you to all who have prayed for Alain, sent letters to the Home Secretary, and emailed the Airline.  Together we’ve made a huge difference.  Alain isn’t out of the woods yet but his situation looks more hopeful than at any point in the last ten days.  Please do keep him in your prayers.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 5th March

Alain remains in Colnbrook IRC and he heard on Monday (3rd) that the Home Office have refused his Fresh Claim.  However, he now has a lawyer who is looking into whether the decision of the Home Office is open to Judicial Review.

If it is, then Alain will have a chance of getting bail and he could then continue to gain fresh evidence of his sexuality.  If a Judicial Review isn’t possible, then the future looks more uncertain for Alain.

Please keep him in your prayers – he’s in good spirits but is missing everyone.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 23rd March

Alain has been given new removal directions.  He is due to be returned to Cameroon on 5th April unless his lawyer can submit some fresh material.  In the meantime we are asking people to email Air France and ask them to refuse to carry Alain.  The details of his flights are: AF1481 to Paris at 08.20 on 5th April and then AF900 to Yaounde at 13.55.

The Government wish to return him to Cameroon via Air France.  This offers a glimmer of hope as Air France, as a European company, are very susceptible to public pressure.  There are a number of things that you can do:

  • Email  the CEO of Air France via  frgagey@airfrance.fr and copy to  mail.mediarelations.gbi@airfrance.fr  explaining your concern about Alain Kouayep Tchatchue being return to a country which criminalises and persecutes lesbians and gay and bisexual men.  Tell them that they should not be acting for the Home Office in this way and that you will avoid travelling with them in the future if this deportation goes ahead and you will tell your friends to do the same.  Please bcc our Pastor in on the email (pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk) so we can keep track of emails that have gone.  Please insert the flight details – AF1481 to Paris at 08.20 on 5th April and then AF900 to Yaounde at 13.55 – and Alain’s full name – Alain Kouayep Tchatchue – in the email.
  • You can phone them via tel 0871 663 3777 (option 1 for English, then option 5, then option 4) and explain your concerns to an operator.  We’ve found in the past that operators are very sympathetic.
  • If you use Twitter you can send them messages and tweet about Alain.  You could use Twitter to point to this page that you are currently reading (the shortlink is http://wp.me/p4ReI-eC) so that followers can read Alain’s full story.  The Air France Twitter account is @AirFranceUK
  • If you use Facebook you could leave a message on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/airfrance

We will keep you posted on this page about progress.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 31st March

Alain is still scheduled to be deported to Cameroon on 5th April.

His new lawyer is planning to submit some further evidence today (31st) and to apply for a Judicial Review of the Home Office decisions so far.

Alain is hopeful that this will mean he won’t be deported on the 5th.

Please do, however, keep up the pressure on Air France.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 5th April

Alain was due to be deported to Cameroon this morning at 8am.

His lawyer submitted a new Fresh Claim earlier this week but the Home Office didn’t bother to respond so the removal directions were not lifted.

Early this morning Alain was taken to a holding room at Heathrow.  He protested that he had a Fresh Claim in, that he is liable to be persecuted in Cameroon because of his sexuality and indicated that he was not willing to go.  As a result operatives (we’re not clear if they were Immigration Officers or contractors) told him that they were just doing their job and tried to both handcuff and tie Alain up in order to get him to comply and board a plane.

Alain has just told us that he resisted and, as a result, was beaten by these operatives.

We are profoundly shocked and incredibly angry.  Everyone in the UK is subject to the rule of Law and we are all protected from violence by that Law.  It is shameful that agents of the state have used violence on Alain – ironically, he fled here to be free from state violence.

Alain was returned to the Immigration Removal Centre and there he saw a doctor who has given him medication for his pain and has made a note of his wounds.  We have told Alain to report this assault to the police as a matter of urgency.

We need to gain more information about this matter, but in the next few days we will be asking you to take further action to complain about this betrayal of Alain’s rights here in the UK.

For the time being please keep him, and Tom his solicitor, in your prayers.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 9th April 2014

We know that many of you have expressed your anger and disbelief at the violent attempt by UKBA contractors to force Alain onto the deportation flight from Heathrow on Saturday morning (5th April), not least when considering Alain’s particular vulnerability as a man with severe visual impairment.

Alain has now been interviewed by the police about this assault.  The manager of the Immigration Removal Centre where he is presently held (Harmondsworth) told him to tell the police and photographed his injuries as well as arranging immediate medical treatment for him.  Now the police have interviewed Alain they will need to interview the contractors to gather all appropriate evidence.  After this the Crown Prosecution Service will need to decide if there was an offence and, if there was, if it is in the public interest to proceed with a prosecution.  

Too many people are the subject of violence when deportations are effected.  Two other members of our congregation have suffered similar experiences and we need to speak up and expose this treatment and show the authorities that, as ordinary members of the public, we are concerned about violence which takes place in our name.

So, we are asking if you would email the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Alison Saunders, to express your dismay at what happened to Alain and ask her to instruct her officers to carefully review this situation and to conclude that it is in the public interest to prosecute these contractors.

Her email address is privateoffice@cps.gsi.gov.uk 

Here are some points to include in your email:

  • Alain’s full name is Alain Kouayep Tchatchue.  He is a blind bisexual man from Cameroon whom the Home Office tried to deport on the morning of Saturday 5th April, despite his having a legal claim to stay in the country.
  • Alain has suffered bruising, swelling and pain following blows to his torso and as a result of a clumsy attempt to handcuff him.  He was tied with rope and had his neck squeezed. He is still in pain from the assault four days later.  The manager of the Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre, where he was returned after the deportation attempt, was so shocked that she ordered medical care, photos to be taken, and called the police.
  • The crime reference number is 338916 Apr 14
  • Urge Ms Saunders to ensure that this case gets anxious scrutiny when it is considered by a CPS caseworker.
  • Emphasise Alain’s vulnerability as a blind man who uses a white stick and express your feelings about how a man who has fled oppressive state-sanctioned violence in his home country has now been subject to violence at the hands of our own state.
  • Explain who you are and why you are concerned about this.
  • Please bcc me, pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk into your email so that we can keep track of the various submissions that are made.

It is true that all that is needed for evil to flourish is that we sit back and do nothing.  Please take a few minutes to urge the DPP to call these people to account.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 11th April 2014

Reports of the assault on Alain have begun to appear in the media.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 18th May 2014

We have just had a phone call from Alain Tchatchue who remains in detention at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in London at the present time.

His solicitor has been preparing a bail application and Alain has now confirmed that this will be heard on Wednesday of this week (21st). If the application is successful he will be released from detention and will be bailed to an address in Solihull, near Birmingham. If it is not successful he will remain in detention.

Alain accepts that, if bailed, he will have to live in Solihull initially, but he has submitted a request to be relocated back to Manchester in due course.

Alain asks to be remembered in your prayers this week and let’s hope that a successful bail application is the start of the process which returns Alain to his friends, his supporters and his church in Manchester.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 21st May 2014

We have just heard the latest news from Alain.  He attended his bail hearing today and bail was refused by the judge.  Furthermore, the Home Office have issued new removal directions.

Alain has been told that he will be returned to Yaounde, Cameroon on 2nd June via the following flights:

  • Kenya Airways flight KQ101, Heathrow to Nairobi, departing from Heathrow at 20:00 on Monday 2nd June
  • Kenya Airways flight KQ526, Nairobi to Yaounde, departing from Nairobi at 08:55 on Tuesday 3rd June 

Alain is in discussions with his solicitor about any remaining actions that he may be able to take.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 1st June 2014

Alain has been in immigration detention since early February.  There have been two attempts to deport him.  One was frustrated by a Fresh Claim that was hastily put together when he was detained; the other was frustrated by Alain’s refusal to go quietly, which led to an assault against him.

These failures to deport him have bought him some time, and a newspaper article about him, published in Cameroon, has now been verified by an independent expert.  This has formed the basis of a Fresh Claim submitted on Friday 23rd May .  As no response to this was given by the Home Office, Alain’s lawyer lodged a Judicial Review on Friday 30th May.

Alain, however, is still due to be removed tomorrow (Monday 2nd June) at 8pm.  His lawyer is very confident that these removal directions will be lifted and he will be working on this as a matter of urgency on Monday.

Please keep Alain in your thoughts and prayers.  It is likely that he will be able to make a strong bail application if the removal directions are lifted, as the Judicial Review will take some time to work its way though the courts.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 2nd June 2014

Alain heard this morning, at 11am, that his removal instructions had been cancelled!

This is because of the Judicial Review that has been submitted on his behalf.  It will take up to 6 months for this to be dealt with.  In the meantime Alain has a better chance at getting bail and his solicitor will now be working on that.

At his last bail application it looked like, should be he released, he’d be moved to Solihull.  If this address is still available Alain, could then make an application to be moved back to the North West.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 13th June

We received encouraging news from Alain today. He’s heard that the proceedings for Judicial Review of his case mean that he’s likely to be released next week. He’s hopeful he will be given accommodation again in the North West.

The Judicial Review will put before a judge:

  • the material our pastor, Andy, submitted in a home-made Fresh Claim – which stopped the first deportation,
  • the material in his solicitor’s second fresh claim,
  • a newspaper article about him from Cameroon
  • and an expert report validating that article.

Please keep Alain in your prayers and pray, in particular, that he can be returned to his friends and church here in Manchester.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 1st July

It is a joy to report that Alain was granted bail yesterday (30th June) and was, this morning, released from Immigration Detention and settled in Birmingham.  He hopes to be moved back to the North West quite soon.

A final attempt to remove him, at the beginning of June, was thwarted by some compelling new evidence of the danger he faces in Cameroon which was submitted by his lawyer as the basis of a Judicial Review.  The Home Office are now considering this new evidence and chose not to oppose bail.

Please keep Alain in your prayers, and thank you for your support, letters and emails to the Home Office and to the Airline.  Together, we have made a difference.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 29th October

Today Alain learnt that he has been granted asylum in the United Kingdom!

He has asked us to thank everyone who has been involved in the case, particularly Andy, our pastor, who wrote one of the legal submissions which stopped the first deportation attempt. He hopes to move back to the North West.

It goes to show the amazing things we can do together and how when the dreadful actions of the Home Office are exposed we can win a victory. Please keep him in your prayers as now he learns to navigate the Department for Work and Pensions…

Jacqueline Nantumbwe – detained by Borders Agency 24th January 2014, released 11th February, detained again 22nd July, released 29th July

Logo_White_smallsizeLatest Update – 29th July 2014

Good news!!  We have just heard that Jacqueline has been released and is making her way home from Yarl’s Wood.

It seems that someone with some sense in the Home Office has finally read the report from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and has ordered her release.  It’s too early to know what else may happen in her case now this report has been received and, crucially, read.

People often are cynical about the value of campaigns and emails and letters to the Home Secretary.  Nevertheless, in a few short days nearly 200 of you emailed Theresa May and urged her to look again at this case.  Your emails worked.

Jacqueline is very happy.  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks as she settles in to a temporary address (she’s probably lost the National Asylum Seeker Service address she was in before detention), tries to find out if she’s entitled to asylum support again, and as we see what happens next in her case.  She will be without funds initially but we have had some offers to help with that – so, again thank you very much indeed.

Now read on for a full timeline of Jacqueline’s case from the beginning.


Logo_White_smallsizeBackground to the case of Jacqueline Nantumbwe (Home Office Reference  N1178674/002)

Jacqueline is a lesbian woman from Uganda, where homosexuality is a crime and politicians and religious leaders are campaigning for the death penalty.

She was forced into an arranged marriage with a man. Jacqueline was discovered with her then girlfriend, Rose, and Jacqueline was imprisoned, tortured and “correctively” raped as punishment for being gay. Rose was not heard from again.

Jacqueline fled Uganda and came to England in 2006, applying for asylum in 2012, but her initial application was turned down because she had been too scared to request asylum straight away.

The Home Office re-assigned Jacqueline to the North West in 2013, away from her new partner of 5 years, who must stay in London. They have both been refused asylum thus far on the grounds that they have not sufficiently proven their lesbianism, despite Jacqueline being an active member of various local LGBT groups.

It has been suggested that gay couples seeking asylum submit sexually explicit home videos as evidence. Jacqueline needs your signatures on her petition. Please stand up for LGBT rights and save Jacqueline from deportation and the reprisals she would face in Uganda.

During Jacqueline’s time in the North West she has become a loved and respected member of our church; she sings in the choir each week; she is very good at befriending newcomers to church; and she has made many friends through her links with the lgbt and asylum support organisations in the Manchester area.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 24th January

Jacqueline was detained this morning by the UK Borders Agency.  We’re not sure if this is because they are hoping to start immediate deportation proceedings against her, if they’ve chartered a flight to Uganda and are rounding up Ugandans or if it’s a mistake.  (Any of these reasons are entirely possible!)

As you know, Jacqueline is a member of our congregation.  She worked in Uganda as a midwife engaging in public health campaigns and as a midwifery tutor.  She is lesbian and fled to the UK for protection.  She hasn’t been believed by the Home Office despite her partner, Harriet,  being here too – Harriet hasn’t been believed either.

Jacqueline is currently working with the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit to prepare a new case but has, this morning (24th) been detained at Dallas Court where she goes every fortnight to report.  At the moment she has no legal case in the system but the Immigration Aid Unit have been working with her to prepare a new claim which should be submitted soon.  Until that case is submitted Jacqueline is liable to be deported – at present no deportation instructions have been issued.

Her solicitor is currently working on a bail application – to which she is entitled.  She poses little risk of flight as she has been reporting regularly, as required, she lives with a settled British person, and she has strong links with us and a number of other community groups like the Lesbian and Gay chorus.

I’m asking you to do two things.  First, and most importantly pray for Jacqueline:

  • that she keeps strong, focused and calm in the disorientation of detention
  • that her solicitor will be able to work on getting her released
  • that she will not be deported.

Second, please sign the change.org petition for Jacqueline.  This will, eventually, be part of her fresh claim to the Home Office.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 27th January

Yesterday (26th) Jacqueline was moved from the holding centre at Manchester airport to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.  She will be held in detention until she is either removed from the UK or until she is granted bail – which can only happen following the submission of her Fresh Claim which she has been working on with the Immigration Aid Unit.

Yarl’s Wood is not a pleasant place.  It is full of people who are isolated and desperate, staffed by people who are poorly paid and has been criticised heavily for how the staff treat the inmates so it’s hard to keep your spirits up.

Inmates are given a mobile phone so they can keep contact with friends and lawyers.  However, all calls and texts to these phones are monitored.  Jacqueline still has her normal phone.  The Home Office get a little anxious when a person has a lot of support from the settled population and we’ve seen, time and time again, that when we stand up for and give evidence on behalf of our friends they are given leave to remain in the country.

So, I am asking that we each do three things:

1: Send a short text to Jacqueline telling her she is in your thoughts and prayers and giving your name.  Text her on her Borders Agency phone which is monitored: 07979 477999.  Tell her she is in your thoughts and prayers.  This will both cheer her up and let the Borders Agency know she is loved, valued and supported.  Don’t expect a reply as, if this idea works, she will be inundated with texts from many people!

2:  If you haven’t already signed the petition please do so here.  It had just 250 names on it on Friday morning (24th), it’s now approaching 1,600 thanks to the power of social networking and thanks to the promotion of Jacqueline’s case by Lesbian and Gay Choir in Manchester, the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF), Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST), Rainbow Noir and the Lesbian Immigration Support Group (LISG) – all of whom have connections with Jacqueline.  If you are on Facebook or Twitter ask your friends/followers to sign and share.  There is a synopsis of Jacqueline’s plight on the petition and it doesn’t make easy reading.

3: If you feel you know her sufficiently well from church and are willing to write a statement on her behalf please let Andy know (pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk) and he will help you write the statement.

But, most of all, please do take the time to drop her a text on 07979 477999.  Now.  Thank you.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 29th January

Jacqueline’s legal team will be submitting her Fresh Claim today (29th) – it is huge and contains lots of new statements from people from church and every other aspect of Jacqueline’s life. It also includes the electronic petition now signed by over 2,275 people and a paper petition so that, in total, over 3,000 people have pledged their support.

You can add your name to the petition if you wish, and if you haven’t already done so, via the link here.

The Home Office may respond very quickly to the Fresh Claim. If they don’t decide by early next week a bail application will be made. Jacqueline is in good spirits and buoyed up by the prayers, support and texts of people who have been kind enough to contact her.  However, it will be a tough fight to get the Home Office to consider the Fresh Claim properly and there may not be a right to appeal any refusal in court – it all depends if they accept that it amounts to a Fresh Claim – ie it introduces new material not previously considered.

Now we’re asking that you continue to pray for Jacqueline and that, if you have a moment, you drop her a text to say she’s in your thoughts and prayers. You can text her on 07979 477999. Don’t expect a reply as she is getting lots of texts and it costs money to text back.  We believe that the UKBA monitor calls and texts to the phones they provide detainees so, as well as encouraging Jacqueline, the texts also alert the authorities that she has support and many people are taking an interest in her case.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 30th January

It has been a very busy week in our campaign to help Jacqueline.  As you know, last Friday she was detained when she went to report at Dallas Court.  On Monday she was moved to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre and, for the time being, she remains there.

No moves have yet been made to deport her; her fresh claim – with lots of new evidence about her sexuality – has been submitted; her MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman, is looking into the case; and her petition has really taken off with people spreading the word via Facebook and Twitter in particular.

Last Friday morning only 250 people had signed Jacqueline’s petition: it now stands at 2,750 people!  This is amazing and has happened due to the power of people using various social networking tools.  Over 200 people have also taken the time and trouble to text her and let her know she’s in their thoughts and prayers and this has really encouraged her.  Yarl’s Wood is a grim place and contact with people outside is very important.

Now her Fresh Claim has been submitted it is important that pressure is put upon the Home Office so that they consider it carefully.  We know from previous campaigns that the more interest is shown by the public in a case the more carefully it is considered.  To this end we’d like to invite you to email the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to raise your concern about Jacqueline.  I’d rather not draft a letter for people to simply cut and paste – it’s better that different styles of letters are received.  However, here are some pointers:

  • Say you are writing to express concern about Jacqueline Nantumbwe who has been detained in Yarl’s Wood.
  • Say who you are, what you do for a living, and your connection with Jacqueline – i.e. she attends your church.  (If you don’t attend the Metropolitan Church, you could write “she attends the Metropolitan Church which has a particular ministry with LGBT people).
  • If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered, state that in your email too.
  • Say she is a lesbian who has provided ample proof of her sexuality, attends various lgbt groups in Manchester, and should be believed.
  • Say she, along with all lgbt people, are in mortal danger in Uganda.
  • Ask the Home Secretary to look into the case and ensure that the Fresh Claim is examined carefully.

The email can be sent to Ms Theresa May via mayt@parliament.uk

It would be useful if you could bcc the email to Andy Braunston at pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk so we can keep track of how many emails have been sent.

Please do remember to keep Jacqueline in your prayers and, if you’ve time, drop her another encouraging text on 07979 477999.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 9th February

The Home Office indicated to Jacqueline’s legal team that they will make a decision on her Fresh Claim by tomorrow – Monday 10th February.  We’ve no idea if this is a realistic timescale, or not, as the Fresh Claim was huge.  In any event her legal team are ready to submit an application for a Judicial Review of a refusal as things can move very quickly when someone is detained.

Jacqueline has now applied for bail and her hearing is on Wednesday (12th).  Her application is being heard at the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal in Birmingham but Jacqueline, herself, will appear by video link.  She has a stable address where she has lived for some months; she has reported as required to Dallas Court Immigration Reporting Centre in Manchester; and she has people who are offering a surety to the court. So she really isn’t a flight risk.

Jacqueline has had a number of people visit her which has really encouraged her.  Here is a note from three of her friends who went to see her in the week:

“We spent a good afternoon with Jacqueline on Thursday.  A combination of her being very upset, telling us how it is and how desperate she is to be out, good conversations about action to support her, and general chats too about all sorts including  her 14/15 years working as a midwife in the health service in Uganda and laughter for example when she was talking about the serial Selfridges and we understood it was a serial about Suffragettes that none of us knew about! What world do we live in!

Our general impression was – She is enormously grateful for all the support she is getting, she kept saying that she does not know how to say thank you. As you can imagine it is very tough being in Yarl’s Wood; she told us that ‘Every Door Closes Behind You’; she is constantly being watched and shut in. Your actions to support her are really helping her keep strong. She told us that she does want a campaign if she is not granted asylum as a result of her fresh claim and we have reported that back to others who will call a meeting should that be needed.

Kay, Judith, and Helen

Please keep Jacqueline in your thoughts and prayers as this week could be quite stressful for her with a Home Office decision imminent and a bail application being considered by the court.  She has been incredibly moved by all the people who have texted her – over 400 people have taken the trouble to do this. If you are able to do so again – or for the first time – please do send her a short greeting on 07979 477999.  Don’t expect a reply as she’s had hundreds of texts!

She is also moved by the 3,500 of us who have signed her petition – 3,250 have done so in the last two weeks!  Thank you also to the 200 or so of you have managed to email the Home Secretary raising your concerns around Jacqueline.  If you’re able to do this please do.  Here are some pointers:

  • Say you are writing to express concern about Jacqueline Nantumbwe who has been detained in Yarl’s Wood.
  • Say who you are, what you do for a living, and that you are concerned about Jacqueline
  • If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered, state that in your email too.
  • Say Jacqueline is a lesbian who has provided ample proof of her sexuality, attends various lgbt groups in Manchester – including the LGBT choir, the Metropolitan Church (which has a special ministry with LGBT people) and groups at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation –  and should be believed.
  • Say she, along with all lgbt people, are in mortal danger in Uganda.
  • Ask Ms May to look into the case and ensure that the Fresh Claim is looked at carefully.
  • Please be polite and respectful!

The email can be sent to Ms Theresa May via mayt@parliament.uk  It would be useful if you could bcc the email to me at pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk so we can keep track of how many emails have been sent.

Once again, please accept my thanks on behalf of Jacqueline for all the tremendous support you’ve offered her so far.  We will keep you updated on the progress of her case.

Andy Braunston

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 10th February

Jacqueline Nantunbwe, our parishioner who has been held for just over two weeks in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre is to be released tomorrow morning (11th)!

The Home office concede that her fresh claim for asylum needs more detailed examination and so it’s not lawful to continue to detain her. She should be returned to home here in Manchester tomorrow (11th).

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she has a long way to go yet with her case, but this news is what we were hoping and praying for.  And there is no doubt that the 3,600 people who signed the petition, the hundreds who have texted her while in detention, and the 100 or so who have emailed Theresa May, have helped here!

Sincere thanks to everyone who has supported Jacqueline in any way.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 22nd July

As you know Jacqueline was released from detention in February following the submission of a Fresh Claim.  When she went to Dallas Court today (22nd July) she was told, in one sentence, that her claim had been refused and then, in the next, that she was being detained as she has no right to be in the country!

She is now being held at the Pennine House Immigration Removal Centre at Manchester Airport with plans, presumably, to move her to Yarl’s Wood in the next few days.

However, in parallel with her fresh claim, her solicitors had commissioned an expert report from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture which greatly aids her case and backs up several of her key claims.  The Home Office had not been served with this report at the time of Jacqueline’s detention as it was only written very recently.  Her solicitors will be submitting this report tomorrow, both as a further submission on her case and as a precursor to a Judicial Review.  The report means that, under the Home Office’s own rules, Jacqueline should not be detained, so we hope that she will be released very quickly.

Please do keep Jacqueline in your prayers as it’s very frightening to be held in detention.  Please also pray that her case managers at the Home Office will act justly, and speedily, in her case.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 24th July

Jacqueline was hoping for positive movement on her case today.  Her lawyers had submitted an expert report which substantially backs up her asylum claim and, which by the Home Office’s own rules, means she shouldn’t be detained.

Inexplicably, the Home Office have ignored this and are now preparing to move Jacqueline from the holding centre at Manchester Airport to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre near Milton Keynes.

Her lawyers are going to vigorously challenge this decision not to release her and will prepare a bail application.  Now she has been detained, Jacqueline has lost her National Asylum Support Service accommodation (which would have been withdrawn anyway as her asylum claim was rejected).

There are three things Jacqueline needs:

  • your prayers – she is very low.
  • People to stand surety – (offer a sum of money to the court in the event she absconds)
  • A bail address in or around Manchester

Anyone who offers a Surety needs to prove to the court they could afford the financial loss if Jacqueline were to abscond.

It is likely that Jacqueline’s asylum support will take some time to reactivate so someone offering a bail address would also need to provide food for Jacqueline too.

Those offering a surety and a bail address need to attend court – likely to be in Birmingham.  One is normally released as a surety after a few months.

If you are able to help please let me know.


Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 25th July

Jacqueline is now in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.

Her lawyers are challenging her detention and trying to get her bail.  Yesterday we asked for people to be sureties for her – and we have had an offer – and for someone to offer a bail address.  So far we haven’t had an offer of a bail address but two people have offered to help with food costs if someone could offer a bail address.  Please let us know if you can help in this way.

But now I’m asking you to write to the Home Secretary.  We’re getting Jacqueline’s MP involved but the problem seems to be that the Home Office official isn’t following the Home Office’s own guidelines concerning detention.  I’ve given some pointers about what to say below and I would be grateful if you could email the Home Secretary, as soon as possible.

Here’s what to cover in your email:

  • put something like “release torture survivor Jacqueline Nantumbwe  from detention” in the subject field
  • Politely highlight that since Jacqueline was detained on Tuesday her lawyers have submitted an independent report from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture to the Home Office which holds that Jacqueline has been raped and tortured: scarring on her body and her post traumatic stress disorder back up her claim.  She is also assessed as being depressed and suicidal.
  • Please highlight that Chapter 55 of the Enforcement Rules preclude (apart from exceptional circumstances) someone being detained who has independent evidence of torture.
  • Politely ask for Jacqueline to be released forthwith and urgent consideration given to this new evidence.
  • Remind Mrs May that we have a proud tradition of offering sanctuary to the persecuted.
  • Please end with your full name.
  • Please bcc me in the email – pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 29th July

Good news!!  We have just heard that Jacqueline has been released and is making her way home from Yarl’s Wood.

It seems that someone with some sense in the Home Office has finally read the report from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and has ordered her release.  It’s too early to know what else may happen in her case now this report has been received and, crucially, read.

People often are cynical about the value of campaigns and emails and letters to the Home Secretary.  Nevertheless, in a few short days nearly 200 of you emailed Theresa May and urged her to look again at this case.  Your emails worked.

Jacqueline is very happy.  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks as she settles in to a temporary address (she’s probably lost the National Asylum Seeker Service address she was in before detention), tries to find out if she’s entitled to asylum support again, and as we see what happens next in her case.  She will be without funds initially but we have had some offers to help with that – so, again thank you very much indeed.

Vote for Prossy Kakooza to be a “Homo-Hero” in the LGF’s 2012 nominations

Every year the Lesbian and Gay Foundation here in Manchester ask people to vote for their “homo-heroes”.  A mixture of people and organisations are nominated, and this year we are delighted to see that Prossy Kakooza is one of the top three to have been nominated in the Role Model of the Year category.  Voting is now open online to choose the final winner in each category.

We were heavily involved a few years ago in a successful campaign to keep Prossy in the UK when the government didn’t believe she was a lesbian, or that she’d been ill-treated in Uganda, and was arguing that she’d be safe back in Uganda.  After a massive campaign and excellent legal representation from the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit Prossy was granted status in the UK.

Now Prossy works to help other asylum seekers and refugees in both her day job and also with the Lesbian Immigration Support Group which she helps to run.

You can vote for Prossy – and various other people who are nominated this year – here.  Closing date for votes is 3rd September 2012.

Update – 20th September

Prossy was the winner of the Role Model of the Year award at the Homo Heroes award ceremony on 20th September 2012.  Many congratulations to her!

Prossy Kakooza CAN stay in the UK

Prossy akooza was granted asylum in the UK on Friday 17th October, 15 long months and 3 court cases after first applying.  She is now able to live, work, and study in the United Kingdom on the same basis as any UK National for the next 5 years.  After this, she will be allowed to apply for permanent residence and then citizenship.
Prossy has been amazed at the level of support from people including: 

  • 5200 people from countries, and church congregations, from all over the world who have signed her petition to the Home Office asking that she be allowed to stay.
  • 100s of people who have written or emailed the Immigration Minister.
  • The 80 members and friends of Metropolitan Community Church, Manchester who have supported her with their love, prayers, money and concern.
  • The 19 friends who went to court with her and helped her collect signatures on her petition at Pride festivals all over the country.
  • The 10 friends who gave evidence in court on her behalf.
  • The 3 amazing lawyers who drafted and prepared her cases (Ruth Heatley from the Immigration Aid Unit and barristers Mark Schwenk and Mel Plimmer)
But most of all the one person who has seen through this ordeal with quiet dignity, humour even in the darkest moments, and faith that all would be well – Prossy herself.
She writes: 
Dear friends:  I get to stay!!  Am still in shock, and am so sure it’s going to take days to sink in. But I have not stopped smiling since 12:00pm today, and won’t stop for a while.
I went with my friend Gwen and am so glad I did because when we left I was in a sort of daze!  When this woman handed me the paper and said, “You have been granted leave to remain” my jaw nearly hit the floor. Always the pessimist, I thought this was where she told me “but the Home Office is appealing”.  So Iasked if they were and she said no they were not.  I had a bit of a hooray shout when we got out – couldn’t contain it.
You have held me together, you have held me upright when all I wanted to do was roll up in a heap and give up.  You gave me the motivation to go on and fight!  Going with me to places to collect signatures, encouraging people to sign online, coming to meetings, writing statements, going to court with me, and most importantly – all the prayers.   And I don’t think you have any idea how the phone calls, texts and emails help.  They kept me sane. 
There are no appropriate words I can use to say thank you.  All I can do is pray to my God to bless you all.  You have changed my life and for that I will forever be grateful. THANK YOU!
Lots and lots of love, hugs and kisses,