Published On: Sat, Jun 21st, 2014 on 12:02 pm

Bisexual asylum seeker granted bail, family relieved

Defend Orashia

Orashia's relatives and friends. Image: Yorkshire Standard.

A man who fears for his life if he is deported to Jamaica due to his sexuality, has been granted bail.

Orashia Edwards, 32, is a bisexual and sought safety in the UK after fleeing Jamaica, a country where attacks and harassment of LGBT people were reported to be ‘increasing’ according to Amnesty.

When he was 16, he moved to Antigua and had no option but to marry an older woman in order to hide his sexuality.

In 2011, he fled to the UK to be with his family in Leeds. The woman who married him however, exposed his bisexuality on social media, which prompted Orashia’s family to worry about his safety if he was to be deported.

Support groups such as the Yorkshire MESMAC and ReachOUT supported Orashia to tell his family about his sexuality and be open about having male partners.

On 12 June, he was forcibly detained at Waterside signing centre in Leeds and is now detained at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincoln.

According to his solicitors from Leeds-based Immigration Legal Advice Centre, Orashia has also been attacked whilst detained and was not given sufficient medical attention.

A bail hearing was held in the morning yesterday and Orashia was granted bail, which was good news for his family and friends.

His mother Vienna Browne told the Yorkshire Standard: “He suffered from depression and panic attacks because of what has happened to him. Hearing news that Orashia had been given bail, we celebrated and we now hope he will be able to come home.”

A petition calling for him to stay in the UK has over 700 signatures.

Orashia has gained removal orders on the 2 July, and a judicial review will be held on 9 July.

Emily Jennings of the Leeds No Borders group said: “Despite this good news, Orashia has been given removal orders on a British Airways flight even though he has a judicial review. We believe the Home Office is attempting to remove him before his legal case is heard.”

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