Kenneth Macharia, a gay rugby player in the UK, has won his battle against potential deportation to Kenya.
According to a report from The Guardian, the 41-year-old athlete earned his right to stay in the UK after winning his appeal against the Home Office.
The judge presiding over the case, Lorraine Mensah, ruled in favour of Macharia after she stated gay men in Kenya faced “discriminatory laws that create a hostile environment in which gay men are exposed to a real risk of discrimination.”
Homosexuality is currently illegal in Kenya, with people convicted facing a possible 14-year jail sentence.
Before Monday’s (19 July) ruling, the Bristol Bison player had been in a legal battle with the immigration resource for the last five years.
Back in 2019, Macharia was faced with the possibility of being deported after his claim to asylum was denied.
In the documents, he stated that he was fearful of facing persecution for being gay.
In a heartfelt statement via 33 Bedford Row, Macharia opened up about the emotional toll this case has had on him.
“When I tell people close to me the news, they are jumping with joy and excitement, I put on a smile and pretend to share the same level of enthusiasm. It’s been a very long struggle since 2016,” he said.
“I have had my hopes crushed too many times. I can’t help wondering what will go wrong. The sadness has not gone away. I used to be optimistic. it will be a while before I am again.
“I am very grateful for all the support I’ve received. Very many people came to my aid in my time of need. Thanks to each and everyone of you. It will take me time to truly believe this nightmare is over and be the same level of enthusiasm as you.”
Dr S Chelvan, Macharia’s barrister, also released a statement regarding the successful win and urged the Home Office to re-evaluate rules for asylum seekers.
“The home secretary should use this opportunity to review the operation and management of the country policy information team in order to ensure accurate and reliable refugee claim decision-making by the home office,” he said.
A spokesperson for the government replied to Chelvan, stating that government has a “proud record of protecting” people who are refuge in the UK.
“We are reforming the asylum system so it is fair but firm, welcoming those who to the UK through safe and legal routes.”
Gay Kenyan Rugby Player Kenneth Macharia Wins Asylum Appeal – Dr Chelvan instructed – calls for Urgent Home Office Reform.
— 33 Bedford Row (@33BedfordRow) July 19, 2021