Supporters have been rallying round a heroic Blackpool asylum seeker as he waits to hear if he faces deportation at the hands of immigration judges .

Fast food restaurant worker - Abdul Ghafoor, 32 - has received dozens of letters of support from colleagues and friends and even a character reference from Anti-Terrorist Branch police officers, as he was due to face a panel of Home Office judges at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) in Manchester on Friday October 7.

If this - his third bid for asylum in the UK - is rejected by the panel, Abdul could be forced to return to his native Afghanistan where he was tortured three times at the hands of the now jailed torturer and warlord Faryadi Sarwar Zardad.

As reported exclusively in The Citizen (July 21), Abdul was the only one of 15 witnesses to give evidence in person, not once but twice, against the 42-year-old ex-military commander during his landmark £3m trial at the Old Bailey this summer.

His testimony was credited with helping to put Zardad in a UK prison for life and was hailed as "extremely brave" by senior investigating officers based at Scotland Yard.

Now Abdul, who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban murdered his father in 1999, hopes his latest bid to stay in the UK will be successful.

"There is nothing I would like more than to stay here in Britain where I have a home, a job and friends," he says.

"I have nothing left in Afghanistan anymore. After my father was killed my mother, brothers and sisters packed up and went their separate ways too.

"They are now living in Pakistan and Australia but I have very little contact with them. My life is here now."

But - despite receiving glowing references for the AIT from both his employers and anti-terrorist police - Abdul is adamant that he wants to earn his place in Britain for reasons other than the Zardad trial.

"I didn't take part in the trial because I thought it would get me a permanent place in Britain," explains Abdul.

"I did it because it was the right thing to do and I was in the fortunate position of being protected by the laws of this country whereas others weren't.

"A bully is a bully no matter what race or religion he or she is.

"If you let them get away with terrorising you then they'll only come back again to do it some more.

"That's the reason I went forward with my testimony."