Air France Refuses to Fly Failed Gay Asylum Seeker to Cameroon
Third attempt to deport Joseph Kaute fails

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LONDON. August 6, 2011    Joseph Kaute, the 43-years-old gay Cameroonian who was due to be deported from the UK this morning, is back at Harmondsworh detention centre this evening, thanks to Air France, the airline that was due to fly him from Heathrow back to Yaoundé via Paris.  It was the third attempt to deport him.

“Air France refused to allow me to board,” Mr. Kaute told UK Gay News by telephone, this evening.

He added that he was aware of the eleventh-hour campaign mounted yesterday evening to prevent the deportation, with representations made directly to Air France in both Paris and London.

“I would like to thank all those who helped me,” he said.

Mr. Kaute arrived in the UK in November last year and claimed asylum, saying that he was gay and that he faced up to five years imprisonment.

However, a tribunal in Newport, Wales, refused to accept that he was gay.

It appears that Mr. Kaute was “fast-tracked” by the UK Border Agency.  His request for asylum was turned down just before Christmas, and his appeal was heard by Immigration Judge Hart on February 1, his supporters say.

A week later, the appeal was dismissed and he was taken into detention to await deportation towards the end of May.

An attempt to deport Mr. Kaute was made in June, by the captain of the flight refused to fly him due to disruption.

A second attempt by the Border Agency to deport him was made almost two weeks later, but again the aircraft captain refused to carry him, citing, UK Gay News understands, possible disruption during the flight.

Notice of the third deportation attempt today was served on Mr. Kaute about 10am yesterday (August 5), his supporters claim.

Earlier today, the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) posted on Twitter: “Great news - Joseph Kuate didn't fly this morning! Details later. Thanx to all who helped in protest. Now fight for sanctuary begins.”

■ International law permits the captain of any aircraft the right not to carry any passenger he or her thinks might affect the safety of the flight.  The captain is the sole arbiter.

■ UPDATE (August 10).  Radio France International, which took an interest in this story because of the 'Air France' angle, is reporting that Mr, Kuate has been released on bail from Harmondsworth by the Border Agency.  The report, by Daniel Finnan, includes the stance of Air France and the press office who confirmed that the pilot’s decision is final when it comes to questions over carrying certain passengers if problems arise. “Kaute’s objection to deportation and being accompanied by UK Border Agency minders would have contributed to the decision to eject him from the Yaoundé-bound plane, the airline says," Mr. Finnan's report states.







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Posted: 6 August 2011 at 20:00 (UK time)
Updated 10 August at 12:30


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