Kenyan Gay Rugby Player Kicked Out of UK

  • Ken Macharia, a gay 39-year-old Kenyan-born rugby player who has been living in the U.K. since 2009 has been ordered back to Kenya.

    Macharia, whose plight prompted more than 100,000 people to sign a petition calling on the Home Office (UK’s Immigration department) to halt his removal, has been told he must now leave the country “without delay”.

    According to The Home Office letter to Macharia, he does not qualify for leave "on any basis".

    In November 2018, Macharia was granted bail from the Colnbrook Immigration Centre, after being detained for two weeks,  but was told his deportation was still "imminent". 

    His work visa expired in 2016, leading him to seek asylum in the UK because his sexuality led him to fear persecution if he returned to Kenya. 

    He has been through a legal appeals process, which has dragged on for several years until the deportation announcement today.

    Macharia arrived in the UK on a student visa in 2009 as a mechanical design engineer.

    While living near his mother in Bristol, Kenneth became a member of the BristolBisons, the city’s LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby team. 

    Acting as the team’s first aider, photographer and avid supporter, he swiftly became a core member of the group. 

    The decision comes  in light of a ruling last month where the High Court upheld a law banning homosexuality in Kenya.

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