(CNN)An English rugby team is fighting to save a gay teammate from being deported to Kenya, where they fear he will face persecution or imprisonment.
Rugby team rallies against deportation of gay player to Kenya
Kenneth Macharia, who has lived in the UK since 2009, has had his request for asylum rejected and is now being detained in an immigration center pending deportation, his club has said.
His fellow players at the Bristol Bisons, a gay and inclusive rugby club, have set up a petition and launched a social media campaign in an attempt to force the Home Office to reverse the decision.
Homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years' imprisonment in Kenya.
"Ken's story is yet another example of the Home Office ignoring the risks that LGBT people face in multiple countries around the world," teammate Andrew Holmes wrote in a petition to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid that is close to reaching 5,000 signatories.
"Deporting a good, hard-working, gay man to a country where homophobic violence and imprisonment is rife is immoral and unjust, and should be stopped," the petition says.
Kenyan law prohibits "carnal knowledge against the order of nature," which is punished by up to 14 years in prison. According to a government report, 595 cases of homosexuality were prosecuted between 2010 and 2014.