A gay Christian Iranian who is said to have escaped persecution in his home country is under threat of deportation.

Madhi – whose surname has been withheld for safety reasons - made a new home and life for himself in Enfield after fleeing Iran, where he had been incarcerated twice and tortured, friends say.

He is currently being detained at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre after failing his bid for asylum.

Supporters have launched an appeal and say he should be bailed during the appeal process. They fear his life will be at risk if he is forcibly deported from the UK.

A petition calling for the Home Office to release him from Colnbrook has been signed more than 35,000 times.

Rev Melanie Smith, Winchmore Hill United Reformed Church minister, said: “We first met Madhi in September 2019, when he and his partner started attending church. It would be a massive loss to our community if he was forcibly deported.

"Madhi has been a consistent presence at our church, taking part in leading services and enjoying playing a full part in the life of our church community. This is one of the few places where Madhi feels safe.”

“The risk of Madhi self-harming in custody has not diminished. That’s why we’re calling on the UK Home Office to release Madhi from detention immediately.”

“We only have a few days to ensure Madhi’s safety. Madhi has always been living at his notified address and has never resisted arrest.”

Madhi was detained after a dawn raid on Monday, January 20 and is facing deportation on Monday, February 3.

Friends said he fled Iran in 2016, eventually arriving in Germany, where he found himself homeless and was abused on the streets. Suffering from PTSD, Madhi made his way to the UK at the beginning of 2019, where he was sent by the UK authorities to Liverpool.

He met his partner Ian online before moving to live with him in Enfield.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.