Author: Greg Russell
A LESBIAN asylum seeker who is frightened about being taken back into detention at Dungavel has told of how her father would force her into an arranged marriage with a man should she return to her home country of Namibia.
Isabella Katjiparatijivi came to Scotland in October 2017, seeking asylum from prejudice because of her sexuality.
Her application was rejected last year and she received the final ruling early last month.
Usman Aslam, her lawyer, lodged a petition at the Court of Session for judicial review – a move that gave her three months to mount the challenge and should have halted any further action.
However, Katjiparatijivi was detained when she reported to the Home Office in Glasgow on January 8. A deportation order that scheduled her for removal on January 25 was postponed by the Home Office and she was released from the immigration removal centre just a few days before.
Speaking exclusively to The Sunday National, Katjiparatijivi explained that she fears being forced into an arranged marriage if she is deported.
“It’s a relief to be out of Dungavel. I have the fear that may it could happen again, but at the moment I’m fine,” she said.
“Lesbianism is not yet legalised in Namibia but there’s an organisation working to legalise it. In my tribe they do not allow two women to get married or be in a relationship.
“My 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 has written twice to Caroline Nokes, the Immigration Minister, offering to meet her to seek a solution that best serves all involved, but has yet to receive a reply.
He said: “There is no point in dancing around the issue of the clear alternatives to detention.
“The days where detention was the elephant in the room must end. Let’s at least come together and engage in dialogue.”