Melanie Nathan; January 28, 2011- Today is Brenda Namigadde’s removal day. She is booked for Entebbe, Uganda via Nairobi, Kenya at 21.20 hrs on Flight VS671 (Virgin) and then KQ412 (Kenya Airways). The UK Border Agency should respond today to the fresh claim for asylum put in by her solicitor on Monday. This may happen at the last moment But, the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, does have the power to stop the removal.
Brenda is the lesbian who has been denied asylum in the UK, having been put into a fast track system and hastily disposed of. It was sheer luck that she did not make last Friday’s removal flight, as her name was muddled with someone else. It was then that LezGetReal heard about her case and together with Paul Canning of LGBT Asylum News set in motion an extraordinary set of events and activism that has now placed Brenda Namigadde’s face on the front cover the UK and Global Press – today, the very morning of her rescheduled removal.
While we continue to work behind the scenes with activists and reporters around the world, including the BBC, Sydney Observer, UK Guardian, NY Times, activists are also preparing vigils at Ugandan Embassies and other actions. The amount of support and publicity gained in mere days is astounding. Melanie Nathan of LGR informed ALLOUT about the case and worked with the group to establish a petition. The US based equality Group GetEQUAL joined i n the efforts yesterday. The Petition to save Brenda is gaining 1,000 signatures an hour at this time.
The momentum stepped into fervor yesterday, not only because of the terrifying time crunch to save Brenda, but because of the impetus provided by the tragic murder of gay activist, David Kato, Wednesday.
UPDATING per LGBT Asylum News:-
Over 20,000 sign petition from 80 countries: ‘deluge’ of email
Does Foreign Office want Brenda saved, to weaken anti-gay Ugandan MP Bahati?
Shadow Home Secretary asked to interveneLondon Ugandan embassy vigil
The petition which sends email messages to Theresa May is now over 20,000. Her office has said they are “deluged.”
The Metro newspaper, which is distributed free at all London tube stations and in 14 other British cities mainly via public transport facilities, and has 3.5m readers, has Brenda’s story on the cover.
One of the world’s most read bloggers, Perez Hilton, has covered Brenda. He cites The Advocate’s article and uses the unfortunate title ‘Gay Ungandan Woman Being Forced Back To Country Despite Violent Homophobic Murders!‘
Her “actual” sexual orientation has now become utterly irrelevant: Thanks to the Bahati call to Melanie Nathan, it is clear that the Ugandan authorities believe she is a lesbian, and with regard to her safety when she returns to Uganda, that is all that matters.
The high profile which this case has now attained means that she is at even greater risk of being targeted by the Ugandan government and made an example of. The case of David Kato is just one example of where this has already happened.
Other new coverage:
LezGetReal reports that the American LGBT activist group GetEQUAL has written to its members urging support for Brenda. Both also call on readers to contact the US State Department’s Uganda and UK desks.
You may have noticed that we have removed the picture which was at the top of the page. It was incorrectly identified as Brenda. The Guardian has also published a correction.
We will keep reporting though the day. In the meantime US activists and friends should continue to urge the US State department to make contact with the UK Home Office
More from Behind the scenes: Skype Chat between the two original activists on story:
Here is the Chat from early morning between San Francisco and London:
[1/27/2011 9:37:34 AM] Paul Canning: Mel, sending media enquiries your way. One just now from Al Jazeera
[3:14:40 AM] Melanie nathan: ok
[3:14:53 AM] Melanie nathan: anything happened
[3:15:34 AM] Paul Canning: yes, looks like Labour opposition will make statement
[3:15:54 AM] Paul Canning: petition going up at ~5k an hour
[3:15:58 AM] Melanie nathan: is she going to be pulled from flight to day and does she know to refuse
[3:16:38 AM] Paul Canning: my guess is May won’t cave but they’ll tell UKBA to allow the fresh claim – staying the removal
[3:17:06 AM] Paul Canning: the front page of MEtro (emailed 2u) is in EVERY tube station in London and ALL OVER the trains
[3:17:06 AM] Melanie nathan: ok so when will we know that stay is for sure
[3:17:28 AM] Paul Canning: dunno, probably last minute. That’s the usual tactic
[3:17:33 AM] Melanie nathan: urgh