Actress Juliet Stevenson has appealed to British officials to drop the planned deportation of a Cameroonian playwright, branding the case "disturbing, shocking and unjust".
The Manchester, England home of Lydia Besong and her husband Bernard Batey was raided on Monday (05Sep11) although the writer, who has penned three plays since arriving in the U.K. in 2006, was not at the property.
She is reported to have gone into hiding after U.K. Border Agency (Ukba) officials ordered the couple to fly back to Cameroon late on Saturday (10Sep11). The organisation has previously rejected an asylum claim from the couple, who allege their lives are in danger in their native country.
Bend It Like Beckham star Stevenson has now launched a last-minute bid to save Besong and her partner from deportation, and has spoken out in support of the writer.
She tells Britain's The Guardian, "It is just appalling. Lydia Besong is an incredibly courageous woman who has been imprisoned and raped in her own country and then has put her head above the parapet to talk about her experience and write her plays.
"To snatch her without giving her time to prepare a defence is legally indefensible and humanly abusive and unjust."
Besong, speaking from an undisclosed location, adds, "We have been targeted and put in detention. When the Ukba came for us on Monday it was like when (the government) came for us in Cameroon. I thought we would be safe in the U.K. I did not think we would be put in a situation where I am not safe to go home If I get sent back to Cameroon I will not be able to write any longer. I will be persecuted."