A Cameroonian playwright and her husband are involved in a desperate last-ditch battle to prevent their deportation from their Bury home.
Both Lydia Besong and her husband Bernard Batey claim to have been tortured while in custody in Cameroon, and Mrs Besong claims to have been raped.
Mr Batey is seemingly in a state of limbo – his removal from the country on Saturday evening was halted only by an injunction late on Friday, and the case remains under judicial review.
Mrs Besong, whose name appears on the same deportation notice as her husband’s, is not in custody.
She said: “I am asking that the authorities review our case and even accept a case for Bernard in his own right. We both need protection right now.”
He is presently being held at Colnbrook immigration removal centre, having been arrested by UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers at home last week.
Bury North MP David Nuthall has become involved in their plight and confirmed he had spoken to the immigration Minister about their case.
Manchester based human rights group RAPAR, who have been campaigning for the couple, claim that the UKBA has failed to fulfil its own legal procedures in this case.
A spokesperson said: “It is now clear from the UKBA's paperwork that the decision to remove the couple was taken on 17 August. The couple did not become aware of this decision however until after Bernard was arrested in a dawn raid that took place on Monday 5 September.”
In response to claims that they had breached Home Office procedures a UKBA spokesman said: "Decisions not to inform applicants of the outcome of their representations in advance will be taken where we believe individuals may deliberately seek to frustrate or delay the removal process.
“Those who we and the courts have decided do not need protection should leave the UK voluntarily – if they do not we will enforce their removal.”
The pair fled Cameroon in December 2006 seeking asylum in the UK and have been living in Greater Manchester since.
There are fears for their safety should they be deported to their homeland, stemming from their work with the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC) whilst in the country.
The SCNC are noted opponents of President Paul Biya’s regime and the couple have said they were tortured while in custody in Cameroon, claiming Mrs Besong was raped by a uniformed prison guard.
Mrs Besong’s play How I became an asylum seeker, based in part on her experience, has played at theatres in Manchester, Salford, Liverpool and London and helped raise awareness of her own case.
She was detained by authorities at the play’s premiere in Manchester in December 2009, but released having been granted an injunction by the high court.