A LESBIAN asylum seeker who said she is frightened of being forced by her father into an arranged marriage to a man has overcome a major hurdle in her battle to remain in Scotland.
The case of Isabella Katjiparatijivi is winding its way through the judicial review process and yesterday it passed a relatively new – but crucial – measure known as the “permission stage” in court.
This means that one judge has accepted that there is merit in her case, which will now go to a full hearing at the Court of Session in October.
a 29-year-old from Namibia, came to Scotland in October 2017 seeking asylum from prejudice in her home country because of her sexuality.
The National previously told how her application had been rejected last year, but when she reported to the Home Office in Glasgow on January 8, she was whisked off to the detention centre at Dungavel – despite her lawyer, Usman Aslam, lodging a petition for judicial review at the Court of Session.
That should have given her a further three months to mount a challenge as well as halting any further action against her.
However, the Home Office had scheduled her for deportation back to Namibia on January 25 – an order that officials denied even existed. They accused The National of getting the story wrong and insisted that no removal instructions had been issued.
Yet, we had seen the order and were able to quote the departure date, flight number and destination.
It was only later that the Home Office claimed the order had been issued through “human error”, an admission which triggered a training review by Caroline Nokes, the Immigration Minister.
After her release from Dungavel, Katjiparatijivi outlined her fears about an arranged marriage.
“Lesbianism is not yet legalised in Namibia but there’s an organisation working to legalise it,” she said.
“In my tribe they do not allow two women to get married or be in a relationship.
y dad doesn’t allow me to be a lesbian and that’s why I came here to seek asylum.
“When he found out I was a lesbian he was planning to arrange a marriage for me, because he and the rest of the tribe believe that if you sleep with a man it ‘cures’ you.
“If I go back my father will try to arrange another marriage because that’s what he believes.”
Aslam, a member of the immigration team at McGlashan MacKay Solicitors in Glasgow, said yesterday’s development was significant.
He told The National: “Once a petition has been submitted in the Court of Session, what used to happen was that it would usually proceed to a hearing, however recently the court introduced a ‘permission’ stage.
“In short, this means that a judge will review the case and decide whether there is enough merit in the case to warrant a full hearing.
“Anyone that is familiar with this area of the law will appreciate that this is a very difficult stage, so this is a good result.”
He added: “We are pleased that the Court of Session has granted permission to proceed in this case.
“Now the matter can be articulated in greater detail with the advocate here, Kenneth Forrest.”