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Teenage lesbian terrified that she will be deported
A GAY teenager is fighting deportation to her native Egypt because she fears persecution because of her sexuality.
Campaigners held a fundraising concert at a Cardiff bar to help 18-year-old Shrouk El-Attar’s legal fight against being sent back to a country she last lived in when she was 15.
The teenager came to the UK with her mother and brother three years ago, but was told she could not stay when her mum’s application for asylum was turned down.
Since she has been living in Cardiff, Shrouk says she has made a life here, rejected her family’s Muslim faith for Christianity and come out publicly as a lesbian.
She has applied for asylum in her own right, claiming her sexuality will lead her to be persecuted in Egypt by the authorities and her own family if she is deported with her mother. But the application was rejected by the Home Office at a first court hearing last month.
Shrouk, who is being housed by the Border Agency in shared rooms with other asylum seekers in Splott, now hopes to persuade the High Court to allow her to stay.
She said: “I am terrified about the possibility of being forcibly deported to Egypt.
“As a gay person, life in Egypt would be impossible for me. I would never be able to express my true self and would have to live in hiding.”
The teenager, who hopes to go to university if she is granted leave to stay in the UK, said that she would have to change her appearance and probably be forced into marriage.
She said: “All my friends and the people who I care about most are all in Cardiff.”
Homosexuality is not a crime in Egypt but the Foreign Office’s own travel advice warns British visitors that homosexuals have been convicted for breaching laws on public decency.
Human Rights Watch has also condemned the country for persecuting gay men and lesbians.
Shrouk said she first admitted her sexuality to friends when she was 16, but only told her family this year.
Her friends have set up a campaign group and organised a launch of the campaign at Gwdihw Cafe Bar on Wednesday.
Mary Davies said: “Shrouk is a well-known and loved member of her community. To say that she should go back to Egypt and live discreetly is yet another example of the Government’s total disregard for homosexuality as a legitimate reason for being considered a refugee.”
A Border Agency spokesman said: “We will offer protection to anyone found by us – or the courts – to need it.
“The Government has made it clear that it is committed to stopping the removal of asylum seekers who have had to leave countries because of their sexual orientation or gender identification.
“It is, however, for the applicant to demonstrate they are at risk of persecution and prove they would be at risk on return to their home country.
“When people are found not to need our protection, we expect them to leave the country voluntarily or we will remove them as a last resort.
“We do not remove people where there are outstanding legal appeals.”