A woman who fled persecution in Gambia fears being sent back “to die” after the Home Office rejected her asylum claim.

Saffie, 43, whose full name cannot be used for safety reasons, is at risk of homelessness and relies on food banks while she waits for immigration authorities to process her asylum claim.

She initially came to Britain on a student visa with a scholarship funded by the Gambian company for which she worked. During a crackdown on LGBT rights in the west African country her sexuality was revealed to the authorities and the company terminated her scholarship and job. She was cut off by her family and says that she has received death threats.

“They might as well put me in a coffin and take me home, because I’m going to die,” she said. “You have no justice. Nobody is going to take me in or help me.”

Homosexuality in Gambia is criminalised and adults in same-sex relationships can face a lifetime prison sentence. Amnesty International has recorded numerous cases of gay men and women being arrested, including women who say that they were raped by security forces.

Saffie’s father, an imam, banned the rest of her family from speaking to her, and even in the UK she says she has received messages threatening to “end” her should she return to Gambia.

Today Saffie will hold a private meeting with MPs organised by the Voices Network, a group that helps refugees and asylum seekers to tell their stories.

Her application for asylum was rejected by the Home Office because of a lack of evidence about her sexuality, which she attributes to being too unwell to attend LGBT social groups or to date much. While studying she became ill with Graves’ disease and ulcerative colitis and had numerous operations. Several of the medications she takes are not available in Gambia.

Although she has been living in Home Office-sponsored housing managed by the outsourcing company Serco, since her initial claim was rejected she is no longer eligible to be housed. Last week Serco said that it would soon begin evicting 300 men and women whose asylum claims had been rejected after a court ruled that it was legally able to do so.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

(Via The Times U.K)

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