FRIENDS and supporters of an asylum seeker living in Sheffield facing deportation have held a vigil as part of their campaign.
Bernard Mboueyeu has been told he must return to his homeland in the Cameroon to apply for a spouse’s visa.
The 34-year-old married his wife Sharon in 2010. But Bernard, who came to the UK in 2007, fears he will be tortured if he gies back to the African country. He fled after taking photos of protests.
The Home Office have set a deadline of today for him to return voluntarily or say he will be ‘forcibly returned’.
Supporters gathered for a vigil outside Sheffield Town Hall and have signed a petition to hand to the Home Office. Among them was Sheffield Council Lib Dem opposition leader, Coun Shaffaq Mohammed.
He said: “I’ve known Bernard for a number of years and consider his family close personal friends. Bernard has contributed so much to the Sheffield community, by supporting local charities and local community groups.
“Bernard has offered to return to Cameroon if his safety can be guaranteed but the Home Office has refused to do so. If Bernard returns to Cameroon he may be never be reunited with his wife.”
Supporters of Bernard say an Amnesty International report in 2011 noted that the Cameroon regime ‘continued to restrict the activities of political opponents’ and that ‘detention conditions remained harsh’.