Rejected X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu claimed today she will face the firing squad if she is forced to return to her native Zimbabwe, the Mail on Sunday reports.
The 18-year-old singer faces deportation after her mother wrongly claimed state benefits.
Speaking from a secret location in Scotland, she said her relatives back home have been approached by men she feared work for her country’s ruthless President Robert Mugabe.
She told the News of the World: ‘I’ve been in the public eye now and people there know I’ve fled Mugabe’s regime. They will punish us if we go back. They’re going to know where we are.
‘There’s a firing squad waiting for us there and they’re putting me in front of it.’
The singer said she had not been contacted by show judges Simon Cowell or Cheryl Cole although she had heard Cowell’s lawyers were ‘trying to help.’
Last week it emerged Nhengu and her family faced being kicked out of the UK after the visa application of her mother Nokuthula Ngazana was turned down over the benefit claims.
Ms Ngazana’s lawyer Frances Farrell said she planned to fight the decision at an immigration tribunal despite the family being told they have no right of appeal.
Officials have told them they must leave the country voluntarily or face deportation.
She told the Sunday People she had spent the last week locked in her bedroom sobbing since the decision that wrecked her future.
She said: ‘I’m a total mess. People want to know if I’m OK – well, I’m definitely not OK.
‘I don’t understand. I’m a good person, what have I done to deserve this? I feel so responsible I have put my family through all this.
‘My two brothers have had to be kept out of school because they are so upset and it’s all my fault. If I hadn’t applied for the X Factor none of this would ever have happened.’
She told the People she couldn’t think straight and was not in a ‘good place’.
Despite more than 250,000 people signing up to a Facebook group calling for Nhengu to be re-instated, the idea was rejected by X Factor producers.
Last night she was not among the four wildcards picked to join the final 12 by the show’s judges.
Contestants Treyc Cohen, Wagner, Paije Richardson and duo Diva Fever had their hopes of pop stardom revived after being selected for the live show. Source: The Mail on Sunday.
The Mail has claimed that multi-millionaire TV mogul Simon Cowell will put his considerable resources behind the Gamu family appeal, which will be much needed if the case goes to an expensive Judicial Review. However, with or without Simon the family will probably qualify for legal aid.
The fact that the family are from an unstable country like Zimbabwe will also act in their favour.
The case has already attracted a frenzy of media attention, which may help their case. High profile deportations and immigration cases often result in Home Office leniency. Who could forget Joanna Lumley’s ambush on the then Immigration Minister Phil Woolas, who eventually agreed to many of the demands of former Gurkha soldiers she was representing.
Yet the fact is that hundreds of people in this situation, where their visas have expired even for a few days, are deported each month with no fanfare or Facebook protest group.
In this sad case the Rules are pretty clear, but leave to remain can be granted ‘outside the rules’ in exceptional circumstances, which is why it is always advisable to seek legal advice from a qualified appeal specialist.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: