Aderonke Apata, the Nigerian applying for asylum in the United Kingdom while claiming to be a lesbian has had her case for asylum rejected by the High Court – after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be lesbian.
A lower court had earlier rejected her asylum bid.
Aderonke Apata was so desperate to convince the Government she was gay that she submitted a private DVD and photographs of her sex life as evidence. Yet a High Court judge has ruled that she engaged in same sex relationships in order to “fabricate” an asylum claim.
The 47-year-old woman came to Britain in 2004 and has won awards for her gay-rights campaigning. She is engaged to her long-term partner Happiness Agboro, also from Nigeria, who has already been granted asylum in the UK based on her sexuality.
John Bowers QC, who was sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, said “I find it difficult to disagree with the conclusions of the First Tier Tribunal that ‘she has engaged in same-sex relationships in detention in order to fabricate an asylum claim based on claimed lesbian sexuality’.
I also accept the associated submission made by [the Home Office] that she has in effect adjusted her conduct so as to adopt other customs, dress and mores of a particular social group purely as a way of gaining refugee status.”
The judge acknowledged petitions signed by several hundred thousand people supporting her case – and her considerable support from LGBT activists in court – but said “I do not think that can amount to evidence as opposed to opinion and support (although that support is very impressive).”
Judge Bowers did not accept a controversial Home Office argument that Ms Apata could not be gay because she had previously had children and heterosexual relationships.
Nevertheless, he agreed with the Government’s assessment that she could not be considered part of the ‘particular social group’ known as lesbians.
The Home Office argues that Ms Apata had “played the system” by making several different asylum applications. It also said that she could not be trusted because she had been convicted for using false papers to work – despite it being a desperate measure to stave off destitution after her asylum case was rejected.
Ms Apata is frightened of what will happen next but believes there may be further legal avenues for her to pursue. She did not want to risk damaging a future case by commenting publicly on the ruling.
Ms Apata was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress in 2005 and attempted suicide when she was in prison facing deportation. Her mental health formed part of the case.