Oscar-Winning actor Colin Firth broke off filming with Woody Allen in France this week to lend his support to a Leeds kidney transplant patient who faces death if she is forcibly returned to Nigeria from where she came to study for a Masters Degree in Leeds nine years ago.
Firth told Rose’s campaign supporters:
“I need hardly add my voice to the wholehearted love and support, surrounding Rose in her community and among her friends.”
“We all hope that the good sense and humanity displayed so far by the courts will now prevail and that her life will be saved.”
Roseline (centre) with her fellow parishioners outside St Augustine’s Church, Harehills, Leeds.
On Thursday (18 July), Roseline Akhalu faces an appeal hearing in London at the request of the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who has accepted that Roseline will die within weeks of being returned to Nigeria. Akhalu’s local MP Greg Mulholland is appalled by the Home Office’s continued persecution of Ms Akhalu. He told the Save Rose campaign:
“Despite support for Rose from across the community and indeed the country, the UKBA continues to waste taxpayer’s money seeking deportation of this seriously ill woman. It is time for the UKBA to stop this and to allow Rose to live in peace in the UK.”
The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Reverend John Packer has also lent his support to Roseline:
“My prayers are with Rose who faces death from her illness if she is forced to return to Nigeria,” he said. “I pray that the court will affirm her right to remain.”
Over 1,700 people have signed a petition demanding that Rose be allowed to live. Christian and faith groups across Leeds and Yorkshire will be organising prayers for Rose this week. Her friends and supporters will be travelling by coach from Leeds to the hearing on Thursday where a candle lit vigil will also be held outside the court from 12.30 pm.
Akhalu’s lawyer, Tessa Gregory from Public Interest Lawyers, explained why the Home Office should not be bringing this case:
“We should not be having to go through another appeal and Rose should have been left to get on with her life. Rose is an upstanding and deeply loved member of her local community whose health and wellbeing has been seriously compromised by the cruel and senseless determination of the UK Border Agency to pursue her through the courts – in spite of two judges finding in her favour and in spite of the unnecessary cost to the public purse which far outweighs the cost of her treatment.”