A HAY Festival volunteer who was threatened with deportation on Christmas Day has been granted more time to make his case for asylum.

More than 11,000 people signed a petition challenging the deportation of Otis Bolamu, who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo after learning that he was suspected of spying for the opposition by President Joseph Kabila's regime.

"It appears that the extraordinary response to the petition for a stay of deportation has worked, alongside heroic work from Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees, Oxfam, churchgoers in Swansea, Apareco in the DRC, a number of persistent MPs and some good lawyers," said Hay Festival director Peter Florence.

The Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees said: "On Christmas Eve, Otis received an official letter from the Home Office headed 'cancelled notice of removal'.

"We have not had a confirmation from a lawyer, but it very strongly suggests to us that he will not be deported at least for the next three months.

"Otis will not be safe until he has won leave to remain in the UK, which still could be a long journey."

Mr Bolamu remains under detention at Gatwick's Brook House Immigration Removal Centre.