Friends of a blind bisexual asylum seeker from Cameroon are accusing UK deportation officers of beating him up.
Alain Kouayep Tchatchue fled after the people in his town discovered he was having sex with another man. Fearing being beaten or killed, the French speaker came to the UK in order to live and love freely.
The Home Office rejected his claim of asylum and issued a deportation order last week. Last Saturday (5 April), it was claimed immigration staff took him to Heathrow airport around 4am. It is claimed Tchatchue protested, saying he had a legal right to be there, and two male members of staff allegedly punched his wrists and upper torso in an attempt to make him submit. The blind man was then bundled into the van and taken to the airport, his friends claim.
They say he shouted ‘I’m gay, I’m gay! I don’t want to go back to Cameroon!’ as he was being attacked. A female member of staff, who was supposed to be looking after his welfare, then allegedly proclaimed Tchatchue was too ill to travel and the asylum seeker was returned to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre close to the airport. On his return, the manager was so appalled by the injuries the police were called.
Reverend Andy Braunston, a friend of Tchatchue, has written to the director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders to ask the immigration staff to be prosecuted. ‘Alain is a blind man who uses a white stick to get around and who has fled here because of fear of the violence of the state in Cameroon,’ he said. ‘It is shameful that agents of our government have beaten this vulnerable man in an attempt to send him back to persecution. ‘We should be ashamed.’
The UK Border Agency decided in 2010 to allow gay men, lesbians and bisexuals if they were not allowed to live openly in their country of origin. Before 2010, those seeking asylum were often refused permission on the grounds they could behave with ‘discretion’ when returned.
However, some activists believe the attitude remains when it comes to bisexual refugees as it is apparently easier for them to be ‘discreet’.
When contacted by GSN, Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre refused to comment.
There is a disturbing lack of attention being paid to this story.