Fear gay Senegalese artist could be killed if deported - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Fear gay Senegalese artist could be killed if deported

Posted: Updated:
A demonstrator holds a "Free Michel" sign at a rally Monday. A demonstrator holds a "Free Michel" sign at a rally Monday.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

There was a demonstration outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Detroit on Monday showing support for Michel Mendy, an immigrant from Senegal facing deportation because of an error in paperwork.

"He gave two different addressed at the same time.  His lawyer didn't catch it.  The court didn't catch it and say, hey, wait a minute, you only can have one address.  So on a technicality, they're trying to deport him now," said Elder Leslie Matthews, Mendy's mentor.

Mendy is an artist and has been working and living in the U.S. since 1998.  He has never been in trouble with the law.

"It's heart-wrenching because, like I said, this is America, and I always look at America as being a fair country, and I don't think anybody's life should hinge on a piece of paper that wasn't filled out correctly," Matthews said.  "We're out here today to let the world know, to let our president know that something has to be done with this immigration.  They're tearing up families.  Michel is one face, but there is many faces to this problem."

Mendy's sexuality is of major importance to this deportation case.  He is gay, and homosexuality in Senegal is against the law, which means if he is sent back, it could be a death sentence.

"He is gay, so therefore going home is not an option," said Seydi Sarr, general secretary of the Senegalese Association.  "He'll put his life in danger and his family's life in danger."

Mendy's supporters are hoping to delay deportation until they can get some relief from the court or lawmakers, but deportation could come at any day.

"I would like for [people] to call their congressman and say, you know, we're better than this.  We're better than this because I don't think that they would send their child anywhere to be murdered, either," Matthews said.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Grosse Pointe Park's new farmer's market seen by some as a barrier to Detroit

    Grosse Pointe Park's new farmer's market seen by some as a barrier to Detroit

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:25 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:25:26 GMT
    Some Detroiters are calling for a boycott of Grosse Pointe Park after the city built a farmer's market that they believe cuts off access to and from Detroit.
    Some Detroiters are calling for a boycott of Grosse Pointe Park after the city built a farmer's market that they believe cuts off access to and from Detroit.
  • Detroit teen recovering after basketball accident at park

    Detroit teen recovering after basketball accident at park

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:51 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:51:50 GMT
    A Detroit teen is seriously hurt after an accident at a Detroit park. He has a long road to recovery ahead, but has a strong support system that isn't giving up hope.
    A Detroit teen is seriously hurt after an accident at a Detroit park. He has a long road to recovery ahead, but has a strong support system that isn't giving up hope.

  • Man shot, killed during carjacking on Detroit's west side

    Man shot, killed during carjacking on Detroit's west side

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:37:16 GMT
    A man was shot to death in an attempted carjacking on Detroit's west side, according to police.
    A man was shot to death in an attempted carjacking on Detroit's west side, according to police.
Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices