Freitag, April 20, 2007

Petition "Jack's Campaign"

Jack Monday Ikegwu, is a young gay asylum seeker currently detained at Colnbrook Removal Centre, who faces imminent removal to Nigeria on Monday 23rd of April on Virgin Atlantic flight VS651 to Lagos, Nigeria at 22.30hrs. Since his temporary release from detention last January, Jack has been has been active in fighting for and supporting migrants and asylum seeker in the UK with detainee support and other groups.

According to the law, religion and culture in Nigeria, homosexuality is strongly criminalised. Homosexuality is outlawed in the Nigerian penal code and Muslim law. However, in northern states under Muslim law the punishment can be death; in the civil penal code homosexuality can carry up to a 14-year prison sentence. The Nigerian authorities have issued a warrant for Jack’s arrest. Re-locating to a different region in Nigeria is not an option.
A new law forbids same-sex marriage and prohibits gay people from assembling and petitioning the government. It also allows prosecution of newspapers that publish information about same-sex relationships and religious groups that allow same-sex unions. Those who violate this law can be sentenced to five years in prison.
Jack had a relationship with the son of a local chief. On learning of this relationship, the family of his lover threatened to have him killed. They also went to the police, who issued a warrant for Jack’s arrest for homosexual activity and widely publicised this in Jack’s home area. The police came to Jack’s house looking for him.
Jack went into hiding, but was discovered by a group of men who recognised him. He was abducted and severely beaten and tortured for several hours. The men left Jack for dead, but having survived this ordeal, he sought to escape Nigeria with the help of other gay friends.
Jack came to the UK in February 2006 fleeing persecution in Nigeria. He applied for asylum, but was immediately put in immigration detention, even though he was under 18 years old. At the time Jack was unable to prove his age or the facts of his story and his asylum claim was refused. After 11 months in detention, Jack was granted bail on the strength of a report from a medical expert from the Helen Bamber Foundation, which provided evidence that Jack has scars and other injuries consistent with his experience of torture.
Jack’s solicitor has obtained an authenticated copy of Jack’s arrest warrant from the Nigerian authorities. Together with the expert medical report and other supporting materials this substantial new evidence that has not yet been considered by the Home Office. Jack’s solicitor was in the process of submitting a Fresh Claim for Asylum when Jack was re- arrested last Wednesday 19th April.
Jack's removal to Nigeria will undoubtedly place him at risk of persecution and will lead to the abuse of his human rights. I ask you act to help Jack have the chance to appeal his refused application and submit this new evidence.

*All further info, suggestions for action, model letters and contact information for the home office, MPs and airline can be found here: ***

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