Sigh of relief for Macharia, gay rugby player who was denied U.K. asylum


Macharia and his supporters at the Bridgwater Police Centre on Thursday, June 6, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY
Macharia and his supporters at the Bridgwater Police Centre on Thursday, June 6, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY

In Summary

  • The 39-year-old went to the U.K. a decade ago to study for a Masters degree in Engineering on a student visa.
  • Upon completion, he was granted a work visa. It was during this time that he joined Bristol Bisons RFC.
  • In May 2016 however, his working visa expired and that is when he first sought for asylum.

Kenneth Macharia, a gay rugby player in Bristol who was denied asylum in the United Kingdom will not be detained.

A statement on his club’s Facebook page said Macharia went to the police as was directed on Thursday morning.

“We are ecstatic to announce that Ken was not detained today when he had to check into Bridgwater Police Centre this morning, ” Bristol Bisons RFC said.

Macharia plays rugby for Bristol Bisons RFC.

It is the South West’s only inclusive rugby team and offers an open and welcoming environment to players and supporters of all abilities and backgrounds regardless of sexuality, a statement on the website reads.

Macharia and his supporters at the Bridgwater Police Centre on Thursday, June 6, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY
Macharia and his supporters at the Bridgwater Police Centre on Thursday, June 6, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY

 

According to the club, Macharia received a letter from the immigration office on June 4.

It said that his application for asylum was refused on the grounds that he will not face prosecution for being gay on his return to Kenya.

The 39- year-old went to the U.K. a decade ago to study for a Masters degree in Engineering on a student visa.

Upon completion, he was granted a work visa. It was during this time that he joined Bristol Bisons RFC.

In May 2016 however, his work visa expired and that’s when he first sought for asylum.

He was released two weeks later on bail but the presiding judge told him that it was not an indication that he would be allowed to stay in the UK longer, a statement on the club’s website reads.

In November 2018, and apparently without warning, he was detained again by the immigration officers and informed he would be deported to Kenya within four days.

However his teammates ran campaigns to keep him in the country.

“A huge thank you to the 60+ people that turned up to support Ken, some travelling from as far as London to help. This is a small victory but we must continue the fight. We will not rest until Ken is safe and granted asylum here, at his home, where he belongs,” the club said on Thursday.

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