It is being reported that a gay rugby player based in the UK has had his deportation order temporarily suspended following a petition to put a stay on the decision.
Over 70,000 signed a petition requesting that Kenneth Macharia not be deported back to his home country of Kenya The Guardian report.
Macharia believes he will face persecution as a result of his sexuality in his native land.
Bristol Bisons RFC, the club Macharia plays for, tweeted on Monday: “With heavy hearts we are sharing the news that one of our members has been detained pending deportation from the UK.
“Kenneth Macharia has had his request for asylum rejected and now risks being deported to Kenya, fearful of persecution and violence in Kenya because he is gay.”
With heavy hearts we are sharing the news that one of our members has been detained pending deportation from the UK.
Kenneth Macharia has had his request for asylum rejected and now risks being deported to Kenya, fearful of persecution and violence in Kenya because he is gay. pic.twitter.com/qySfq3XUAy
— Bristol Bisons RFC (@bisonsrfc) November 18, 2018
However MP James Heappey confirmed that his ‘removal notice’ had been cancelled, at least for the time being.
I’ve just heard from the Home Office that the Removal Notice for my constituent Kenneth Macharia has been cancelled. There’s lots left to do to but he won’t be going anywhere for now. Thank you to @bisonsrfc & all others who’ve been in touch to support Kenneth.@bbcpointswest
— James Heappey MP (@JSHeappey) November 20, 2018
Bristol Bisons RFC is the South West’s only inclusive rugby team and – according to the website – “offers an open and welcoming environment to players and supporters of all abilities and backgrounds regardless of sexuality to Bristol, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and surrounding areas since 2005.”
On Sunday South Wales Police confirmed that a 16-year-old boy has admitted assaulting Thomas on Saturday.
Thomas, capped 100 times by his country, posted a video on Twitter stating that he had been subjected to a homophobic attack in the Welsh capital.
Thomas thanked police after he requested the teenager was dealt with by way of restorative justice so he could “learn more than any other way” following what he described as “a hate crime for my sexuality”.
Now the French Rugby Federation’s vice president Serge Simon has said that the team will wear rainbow laces in their game against Fiji this weekend in support of Thomas.
Simon tweeted: “Dear @gareththomas14, All of French Rugby is with you regarding the homophobic molestation you’ve been victim of. To show our support, the French rugby players will wear a rainbow shoe lace during the France – Fidji game on Saturday night. We’re all in with you in this matter.”
“We are aware that a video has been posted on social media by former rugby international Gareth Thomas in relation to a hate crime which happened on The Hayes in Cardiff city centre.
“We can confirm a local 16-year-old boy was dealt through restorative justice following the incident at around 9pm.
“Restorative justice was at the request of Mr Thomas and accepted by the teenager who admitted assault and was apologetic for his actions.
“Restorative justice is about putting victim needs at the centre of the criminal justice system, finding positive solutions to crime and encouraging young people to be accountable for the consequences of their actions.”
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