Rowen Backs Lydia's Fresh Claim For Asylum

January 14, 2010 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has given his full backing to Lydia Besong, the writer and human rights activist threatened with deportation from the UK, as she prepares to make a fresh claim for asylum.

Lydia was released from detention last Friday after the UK Border agency decided to consider a fresh claim for asylum. Lydia had been detained at Dallas Court reporting centre in Salford on December 10th and was taken to Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire after being told she would be deported to Cameroon on December 21st. Her husband Bernard Batey, also 38, was due to be deported at the same time.

But, with only 72 hours to go, a High Court judge in Manchester granted an injunction preventing the couple's deportation until new evidence was considered. The UK Border Agency has now agreed that there is evidence for a fresh claim and Lydia has finally been released.

Lydia and Bernard were backed by Rochdale MP Paul Rowen who urged Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas to take another look at the case. Mr Rowen said he had reviewed the case himself and was still of the opinion that there was "a real and substantial danger to Ms Besong and Mr Batey should they be returned to Cameroon".

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen said: "I am delighted that Lydia has now been released. However, new restrictions mean that both she and Bernard have to report weekly to Dallas Court in Salford. When their asylum claim was refused, all support - including housing - was withdrawn from them so I am currently going through the process of re-applying for that support. I know that they are currently staying with friends in Chorlton Manchester but I have written to NASS as they wish to move back to their previous address in Rochdale."

Mr Rowen added: "I have spoken to their solicitor and I will be fully backing their new appeal for asylum. Both Lydia and Bernard have made a great contribution to Rochdale and the wider region since moving here in 2006 and this can be seen from the numbers of people backing their campaign."

Lydia and Bernard Besong said: "We would like to thank Paul and all our supporters for the marvellous work they have done and for the letters, emails and faxes they sent to the Home Office backing our campaign."