A VULNERABLE Oxford resident who is seeking asylum in this country on the grounds of his sexuality and declining health has had his application declined and is now in the process of an appeal, according to his solicitor.
Billy, who does not want his surname revealed due to fear of repercussions for his family, had his request for asylum declined and if his appeal does not succeed he will be forced to return to his home country Guinea, where homosexuality is still illegal and carries a possible sentence of up to 10 years.
The Barton resident, who has lived in the country for several years now, is also HIV-positive, and a friend of his, Adam Tengku said this was even less acceptable in Guinea, West Africa.
As a resident in the UK, Billy is able to obtain the treatment he needs to stay healthy and live normally.
Now Mr Tengku has started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds to help cover a portion of Billy’s legal fees.
With 46 supporters so far, they have raised almost £1,800 of the £3,500 target.
Mr Tengku described him as ‘a gentle soul with a reserved demeanour who has worked hard to go further in life’.
He wrote on the official fundraiser page: “Being in the UK has enabled Billy to live authentically and without fear of persecution.
“In Guinea, he was not able to be honest about himself to people and had to keep that side of him hidden, a constant drain and fear of being discovered looming over his head.
“After moving to the UK, he has been able to live freely and enjoy the privileges offered by progressive laws and human rights and formed lifelong friendships.
“Those of us close to Billy can testify to his strength and goodness of character and that he would be an asset to the country.”
Billy’s solicitor Arona Sarwar from Arona St James Solicitors in London has specialised in LGBTQI cases at her law practice for more than 20 years.
She explained that it was vital that people like Billy receive as much support as they can, particularly now when Brexit has forced many to feel unwelcome in the UK.
She added: “It is important for him that he feels supported and hopefully this fundraiser will raise his profile within the local community in Oxford.”
While Ms Sarwar could not comment on the specifics of her client’s case as it is subject to an appeal, she said she is asking experts to comment on the refusal.
This is why Billy is facing increased costs in respect of his asylum appeal.
She added: “His close friends set up this fundraising campaign to start a conversation about his life, and the issues he is facing as Billy has no family in the UK.
“Often those who have fled their countries fear letting people know that they are gay, as they are taught it is shameful to be gay, in some instances against god’s will.
“Often such individuals have concealed their real reason for fleeing, which can be adversely assessed by a case worker at the Home Office.”
The solicitor also highlighted that during the coronavirus pandemic ‘not knowing if you will have a home or a place of safety raises further anxiety’.
Her practice has received many more calls than usual from clients who need to know if their cases are moving forward and be reassured that they are constantly being supported.
To find out more about Billy’s case and to donate visit gofundme.com/f/stop-billy-deportation.