Gay Kenyan Rugby Player Released From UK Detention Centre

After a petition and a social media campaign, gay Kenyan rugby player Kenneth Macharia's deportation to his home country has been stalled.

Kenneth Macharia, a member of the Bristol Bisons rugby team, who faces deportation to Kenya.

Yesterday, it was reported that gay Kenyan rugby player Kenneth Macharia was facing deportation to Kenya after his asylum claim was rejected.

Now, after a social media campaign, the Bristol Bisons RFC team member and photographer has been released from the detention centre in which he was being detained, awaiting deportation to Kenya.

Kenneth Macharia, a member of the Bristol Bisons rugby team.

In a tweet, his team wrote, “We have some news to report regarding our member Ken. He has been released from the detention centre and the threat of imminent removal from the UK has been lifted. Whilst this is good news, we have no confirmation that Ken will not be removed from the UK entirely.”

The Kenyan rugby player was awaiting transportation to his native country where being gay often leads to persecution and a jail sentence of up to 14 years. When news broke about his deportation, there was an outcry from his teammates and friends, leading to the Bristol Bisons launching a petition calling on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to intervene.

Teammate Andrew Holmes, who started the petition, said, “Ken is deeply concerned about being deported to Kenya where he would face persecution and he wishes to stay in the UK to contribute to society. Ken’s story is yet another example of the Home Office ignoring the risks that LGBT people face in multiple countries around the world.

“Ken is a quiet, kind and caring person and he is one of the most loved people at our rugby club. Our team would not be the same without his warm character.

“With heavy hearts, we are sharing the news that one of our members had been detained pending deportation from the UK.

“Kenneth Macharia has had his request for asylum rejected and now risks being deported to Kenya, fearful of persecution and violence in Kenya because he is gay.”

Bristol Bisons are an inclusive gay-friendly English rugby union club and offer an open and welcoming environment to players and supporters regardless of sexuality.

Homosexuality is currently illegal in Kenya, with the law stating that adults engaging in consensual same-sex relations may face up to 14 years in prison.

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