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Africa

Air France refuses to carry deported gay Cameroon man from UK

media Guillaume Plisson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A gay Cameroonian man who faces expulsion from the UK will be allowed out on bail from a detention centre after Air France refused to transport him. A statement from the UK Border Agency seen by RFI on Monday says asylum seeker Joseph Kaute was “disruptive” during attempts to deport him. He will receive a temporary reprieve from being returned to Cameroon.

“At about lunchtime today they called him and asked for his address,” says Charlie, one of Kaute’s fellow inmates at Harmondsworth immigrant removal centre. Kaute provided the authorities with his uncle’s address and he will be granted immigration bail until his expulsion.

The UK Border Agency has already tried a number of times to deport Kaute, who has appealed for asylum. Air France refused to transport him for the third time, the UK Gay News publication reported on Saturday.

In conversations with Air France’s press office RFI has established that they do not intend to take any political stance in the case, saying they would have had no knowledge of the traveller’s sexuality. The pilot’s decision is final when it comes to questions over carrying certain passengers if problems arise, Air France says.

Kaute’s objection to deportation and being accompanied by UK Border Agency minders would have contributed to the decision to eject him from the Yaoundé-bound plane, the airline says. Gay rights groups have also been lobbying Air France not to fly Kaute from Heathrow.

Kaute had fought his expulsion in court. However, the UK Border Agency ruled that he was “not in need” of protection. He appealed against the decision but the ruling was upheld.

The Cameroonian government has previously denied that homosexuals in the country face persecution although homosexuality remains a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison.

Kaute says he claimed asylum in the UK last year because he has been arrested and beaten for being a homosexual. The UK Border Agency maintains that it is “committed to stopping the removal of people who have genuinely had to leave particular countries because of their sexual orientation or gender identification”.

 
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