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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
Iranian woman's case 'deferred'
Samar claims she would be persecuted in Iran
The deportation of a Christian Iranian woman who claims she will be stoned to death if she returns to Iran has been deferred, the BBC understands.

Samar, 29, has lived in Bournemouth, Dorset, for three years but her asylum application was refused.

The prime minister agreed to look at her case when Anne Widdecombe MP raised it at prime minister's questions.

Samar says she fears for her life after converting to Christianity to escape an arranged marriage in Iran.

She had been due to fly to Iran on Wednesday but it is understood the Home Office has received new appeals on her behalf.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said her case would be looked at "in detail immediately".

Danger 'underestimated'

Samar - who does not want her surname published - claims a document from the Islamic Revolutionary Court proves she will be stoned to death for changing her faith if she returns home.

On 13 July she was granted a temporary reprieve from deportation after Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative MP for Bournemouth East, appealed to the Home Office but this was rejected on Tuesday.

Samar is being kept at a detention centre in Bedfordshire and is due to be taken to Heathrow and flown back to Iran.

She said she was devastated at the prospect of having to return and appealed to her supporters saying: "Please keep praying for me."

In a letter to Mr Elwood, the Home Office said it was "satisfied that her asylum and human rights applications have been properly and fairly considered".

It stated that her circumstances "were below the required threshold to constitute being at real risk of persecution on return to Iran".

The Bishop of Winchester, the Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, who is supporting her campaign, said: "I believe they [the government] underestimate the risk people face when they are deported back to some countries.

"In this case I think it underestimates the danger she faces."

Woman's deportation put on hold
13 Jul 07 |  Dorset

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