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Gay Kenyan rugby player facing deportation

By Vincent Kejitan | November 21st 2018

Kenneth Macharia, a Kenyan rugby player who plays for the Bristol Bisons – a gay and inclusive club –, is afraid that he may face persecution due to his sexual orientation if he is deported.

Macharia’s claim for asylum was rejected and he was detained at Colnbroook immigration centre near Heathrow airport.

His teammates rallied support for him, labeling the player an ‘integral part’ of their group and lauded his commitment.

"His commitment to the ethos of rugby and inclusive gay rugby is second to none. We are at risk of losing one of the herd," read a statement on Twitter.

Bristol Bisons manager Lee Penfold echoed similar sentiments saying no one should ever go through what Macharia is currently experiencing.

“He has been with the team for a long time and if sent back to Kenya would face almost certain persecution.

"No person should ever have to face this," said Penfold.

Chairman of the rugby club Phil Rogerson, on the other hand, praised Macharia’s first aid skills and promised to offer him full support during this period.

“As well as joining us on the pitch, Ken is a trusted first aider and comes to our aid when we need it, so it is only right and fitting that we come to his too.

“We believe his safety and wellbeing is in grave risk if his deportation were to go ahead and we stand by him and support him in his desire to make a life for himself alongside his friends and teammates here in the United Kingdom.”

The club added: “Ken’s story is yet another example of the Home Office ignoring the risks that LGBT people face in multiple countries around the world. We are providing support for Ken at this challenging time, hoping he will not be removed from the UK to continue his life here. 

“Deporting Ken from the UK will also mean that he is unable to see his mother who lives in Bristol.”

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