Colin Firth & church leaders join appeal to save kidney transplant patient from deportation

Rose Akhalu

Rose Akhalu

Kidney transplant patient Roseline (Rose) Akhalu, who faced removal to Nigeria next week, has been granted an injunction preventing her removal anytime before her permission hearing on 24 July.

Oscar-award winning actor Colin Firth took a break from filming in Thailand yesterday to issue the following statement: "Few things are this straightforward: Rose is sick, if we don't help her she dies. The decision is entirely ours. I'm sure saving her won't compromise the government's enforced removal policy. This is an exceptional case."

Members of the Ecumenical Council of West Yorkshire have also expressed their support for Rose. The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract said: "I hope and pray that common sense will prevail and allow Rose to stay and receive the life saving treatment she needs."

Ms Akhalu has never been allowed to work, but since 2007 she has been supported by parishioners from St Augustine’s RC Church, Harehills and the St Vincent de Paul Society in Leeds. Roseline is much loved and respected by her fellow parishioners and many people in the wider community. In spite of her health problems, Roseline has volunteered tirelessly in the parish and is actively involved in a number of community-based groups.

She arrived in the UK in September 2004 on a student visa, after winning a Ford scholarship to study for a Masters Degree at Leeds University. She unexpectedly developed end stage renal failure in 2005 and remained on dialysis until she was fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant at St James Hospital, Leeds in July 2009. Rose has applied for leave to remain in the UK but was refused.

Dr James Tattershall, Rose’s renal specialist, said: "She'll be on anti rejection medication for the rest of her life. Now that her visa has run out the government wants Roseline to return to Nigeria - but the drugs she needs aren't available to her there. Deportation will be a death sentence. In Nigeria most people with kidney disease such as Rose has, wouldn't receive any treatment and they would die."

Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) are challenging Rose’s removal and are bringing a civil claim for damages for the ill treatment she has suffered at the hands of UKBA and their
contractors Reliance.

Tessa Gregory of Public Interest Lawyers, the solicitor acting for Rose, stated: “We are delighted that the injunction preventing Rose’s deportation was granted and that she has been released from detention. We will now work towards the judicial review permission hearing on 24 July 2012 and do our very best to ensure that justice is achieved and Rose is able to stay in the country. ”

An online petition to stop the deportation can be signed here:

Tags: Colin Firth, deportation, Kidney transplant patient Roseline Rose Akhalu

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