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Plea for support for Ugandan whom UK seeks to deport

The National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns is seeking support for Frank Zalwango, a Ugandan lesbian who wants to remain in the United Kingdom rather than be deported to Uganda, where she fears prosecution and imprisonment for her sexual orientation.

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The group asks supporters to send an email to Kenya Airlines, asking it to reject Zalwango as a passenger on her scheduled deportation flight. Emails should be sent to

  • contact@kenya-airways.com
  • ukres@kenya-airways.com

Here is the suggested text for the email, which supporters are welcome to revise, if the revisions remain polite:

Subject: Please refuse deportation flight of Mrs Frank Zalwango, KQ101 to Uganda via Nairobi at 19:00 on 2 January 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mrs Frank Zalwango is currently held in Yarl’s Wood detention centre where she is a member of the Movement for Justice campaign group. Mrs Frank Zalwango faces forced removal back to Uganda where, due to her sexuality, she faces the risk of arrest and possible death.

Living in Uganda Mrs Frank was forced to hide her sexuality. When her relationship became known publicly she was attacked, forced to leave her job, arrested and received death threats. She fled to the UK to save her own life leaving behind two young children, 4 and 6 years old.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda with gay and lesbian persons forced to hide their sexuality from the authorities or risk facing up to life in prison. Despite assertions that it would be amended, the ‘Christmas gift’ anti-gay bill proposed in Uganda would still impose the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and criminalises organisations who support and protect LGBTI groups.

Frank’s sexuality is well known to both the authorities and the community. If forced to return she faces societal harassment, discrimination, and intimidation. It is a reality that if returned she may be prosecuted and imprisoned.

Frank’s lawyer has applied for her case to be heard at the High Court. She has been refused permission, but her lawyer has applied for an oral renewal hearing. UKBA lost no time in issuing new removal directions for 26 November. Frank refused to board the plane, and when asked by the escort staff why she did not want to return to Uganda, she explained to them what happens to lesbians there. Frank was returned to detention and was yet again been issued with removal directions, this time for 18 December.

I have just heard the good news that Frank’s 18th December flight was cancelled, and her case has now been sent to the European Court of Human Rights. UKBA are determined that justice will not be done, and have issued removal directions again – for 2nd January, 2013. Since being returned to Yarl’s Wood after the last failed removal attempt, Mrs Frank has heard that her story has been featured in Red Pepper News, the notorious anti-gay Ugandan publication.

I am calling on Kenya Airways not to deport Mrs Frank against her will to Uganda, where she is very much at risk as lesbian. As Kenya Airways are so frequently involved in deportation flights, I encourage Kenya Airways to think about their business reputation. Please refuse deportation flights of asylum seekers back to danger and possible death. Please refuse the deportation flight of Mrs Frank on January 2nd, 2013!

Thank you very much.
Sincerely Yours,

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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