Deported to die appeal fight

FIVE YEAR BATTLE: Roseline Akhalu will not be able to afford life-saving drugs if she is deported back to Nigeria.

FIVE YEAR BATTLE: Roseline Akhalu will not be able to afford life-saving drugs if she is deported back to Nigeria.

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Friends and supporters of a severely ill Leeds widow who faces being ‘deported to die’ are making a last-ditch appeal to the Home Office to abandon what they have termed its “relentless persecution” of her.

As reported previously in the YEP, Nigerian-born kidney-transplant patient Roseline Akhalu has been fighting a five-year battle to remain in the UK.

The 49-year old’s initial joy at an immigration tribunal’s decision to uphold her recent appeal turned to despair when it emerged the Home Secretary intended to challenge the judge’s decision.

Now her lawyers have learned that the Home Office has indeed won official permission to appeal against the ruling of the immigration judge last November.

Writing on the Open Democracy blog, Esme Madill, a friend and long-term supporter of Mrs Akhalu, said: “If Theresa May wins her legal battle...Roseline Akhalu dies. If Roseline wins, where is the harm?”

In Parliament last week, Greg Mulholland, Lib Dem MP for Leeds North, challenged the Home Secretary over the case.

“Too many UKBA decisions are still wrong and the process is taking far too long,” he said in the House of Commons. “In which case does the Home Secretary not think it extraordinary that, notwithstanding the clear ruling of a judge on November 29 and previous tribunal decisions, UKBA is still seeking to prevent Roseline Akhalu from staying in this country, despite the fact that if she is deported she will die?”

Mrs May replied: “I will respond to my honorary friend in relation to the individual case that he has raised.”

Mrs Akhalu, who lives in Headingley, came to the UK in 2004 on a scholarship to do a masters degree. She was diagnosed with renal failure and had a successful NHS kidney transplant in 2009. She must take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of her life or the transplant will fail. However, such drugs are expensive in Nigeria and she has no family to support her. Her NHS doctors say she will die within four weeks if deported.

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