Amnesty International urges US authorities to halt deportation of gay Ghanaian
Amnesty International UK is urging US authorities to immediately halt any deportation proceedings against Sadat, a Ghanaian homosexual who fears for his personal safety on his return to Ghana.
Sadat reportedly fled his home in November 2015 after being beaten by members of a violent anti-LGBTI vigilante group, the ‘Safety Empire’, a statement issued by Amnesty International said.
According to Amnesty, the group had suspicions about Sadat’s orientation and went on to interrogate his gay friend and intimate partner in order to extract information.
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The video was posted onto the leader’s Facebook page gaining 53,000 views as both a way of outing Sadat as a known gay man, and as a statement to other LGBTI people within Ghana.
The ‘Safety Empire’ later burned down Sadat’s house and attacked his uncle in attempt to find his whereabouts. Anti-LGBTI groups such as this go unpunished by the law and continue to spread fear and hate towards vulnerable people through any available media.
"We’re not going to stand by whilst Sadat is treated in this way. We’re calling on US authorities to immediately halt any deportation proceedings against Sadat," the Amnesty statement said.
"In addition, we also want the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release Sadat on parole pending the resolution of his asylum claim and for the Department for Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General to review apparent due process violations in the handling of Sadat’s asylum claim, and his ill treatment in detention".
Sadat’s Possible Deportation
After arriving at the US-Mexico border on the 17th January 2016, Sadat was detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sadat’s family sent a video as evidence of the ongoing threats from the ‘Safety Empire’. Despite all efforts, the US authorities dismissed the evidence as insufficient and recently denied his parole making steps towards his deportation. If Sadat were to be returned to Ghana, it would be a tragic denial of his human rights.
Since the rejection of an appeal in November 2017 Sadat’s situation has worsened. He has been on two separate hunger strikes during February 2018 in protest against the poor conditions and prolonged detention.
According to Amnesty parole must be granted for Sadat as no asylum seeker should ever be rejected if their personal safety is in serious jeopardy.
Homosexuality in Ghana, West Africa
Homosexuality is a criminal activity within Ghana under Section 104 (1) (b) of its Criminal Offences Act that refers to “unnatural carnal knowledge”, which the authorities interpret as “penile penetration of anything other than a vagina.”
Despite the positive regional changes across West Africa in attitudes towards LGBTI people Ghana, Mauritania and Nigeria (especially northern Nigeria) remain strictly opposed to loosening their laws.