AN AFGHAN refugee who was scheduled to be deported on Saturday has been granted “a stay of execution” after his friends campaigned to let him remain in the country.

Reza Maghsoudi fled the Taliban in his home country in 2004 aged 13, and travelled alone to the UK.

Now aged 26, he has lived in Salisbury for a number of years, taking on an internship at Stonehenge Tailoring.

As previously reported by the Journal, Reza was detained on October 26 and taken to Portland detention centre ahead of a flight back to Afghanistan that was booked for Saturday.

But an injunction passed by a court late on Friday night has allowed Reza one more week to apply to stay in the country.

He has been moved to a holding centre in Gatwick until a decision is made.

One of Reza’s friends, Derri Southwood, who has been helping him in the last couple of weeks, said: “It’s literally just a stay of execution.”

Derri said: “This has given us the opportunity for him to reapply for a ‘Leave to Stay’ permit.

“While there is no guarantee that this will be granted, we all hope that this will prove to be the first step to enable him to remain with us in his adoptive home of Salisbury.”

A spokesman for the Home Office previously told the Journal “where someone is found not to need our protection we expect them to leave the country voluntarily”.

But Reza’s friends argue that sending him back to Afghanistan would put him in danger. At least four civilians were killed in a suicide bombing close to the British Embassy in Kabul on October 31.

Derri said: “We cannot thank the Journal enough for bringing Reza’s plight to the attention of so many people in Salisbury and the surrounding areas.

“We thank all of you, the readers, for your kind support and would also like to extend our deepest gratitude to our MP, John Glen, and his team for their overwhelming dedication towards this achievement.

“Since embarking on this campaign we have all become so aware of the plight of young refugees who are sadly deported back from the United Kingdom to dangerous and hostile countries which they have had no contact with since they fled and have no family or home.

“They are effectively being returned to a tribal warzone overrun with terrorists such as the Taliban and Daesh.”