Court hope for student facing deportation

A SHEFFIELD student facing deportation to a country he has never lived in was praying for an 11th-hour reprieve last night after friends said a European court had granted his appeal.

Reza Yosefi, 20, was due to be deported to Afghanistan in the early hours of this morning, despite fears he will be killed if sent to the war-torn country where he has no friends or family.

But last night campaigners said he had received a letter from the European Court of Human Rights stating his deportation should be stopped. It remained unclear whether the letter had arrived in time to prevent his removal from the country, however, with the UK Border Agency insisting the deportation would go ahead.

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Campaigner Marishka Van Steenbergen said: "I've spoken to Rez and he has the letter in his hands. What we don't know is whether we can get through the bureaucracy in time. He is due at the airport in just a few hours."

Mr Yosefi moved to Britain as an asylum seeker when he was 16. He was brought up in Iran, his parents having left Afghanistan before he was born. Mr Yosefi took maths and IT courses in Sheffield and hoped to study history at university – but was refused permission to stay when he turned 18.

A statement from David Wood, UK Border Agency director, said: "Both the Border Agency and the courts have fully considered Mr Yosefi's case and have found he is not in need of protection and must return to Afghanistan."