A DESPERATE refugee has been on hunger strike for nearly two weeks because she is terrified of being tortured and killed if she is forced to return to Iran.

Bita Ghaedi, of High Road, Whetstone, was refused asylum by the British Government and told she would be deported within a fortnight.

But the 34-year-old, who said she has endured two decades of beatings and mental torture at the hands of her family and her former lover, claims there is no doubt she will be hunted down and killed by her father, brother and uncle should she return.

In addition, since living in London she has taken part in numerous protests in support of the ongoing campaign for regime change in Iran, including going on hunger strike last summer alongside several other Barnet Iranians.

She also now lives with a man who was imprisoned for 12 years for opposing the Iranian regime.

She fears she will be in danger both from an honour killing from her family and torture and execution at the hands of the regime, which has declared those who protest against the Iranian Government are “mohareb” or “enemies of God", a crime punishable by death.

She said: “I feel my life is going to be finished. I'm so scared. I can't sleep during the night, I think immigration will come any time and take me away.

“It's better for me to die here.”

Ms Ghaedi was brought up in Iran's capital Tehran but within the culture of Lorestan, a remote and mountainous region of western Iran where her family originates.

She said within this culture women were treated “as slaves”.

“My mother was beaten by my father every day. When I was a teenager he started beating me too.”

Ms Ghaedi said she was also attacked by her younger brother, who is six years younger than her.

She added: “There wasn't really a specific reason, it was just because he was a man.

“I saw other people were different but I couldn't go anywhere, you can't come out from your family in Iran.”

Unusually, her family did not arrange a marriage for her as a teenager. Instead she was allowed to go to University, studied to be a teacher and taught girls in a technical college.

When aged 28, she was forced to marry a man 16 years her elder, while she had secretly begun seeing a work colleague, Hamid Saedi.

One day when she visited her family by taxi, her brother assumed the taxi driver was a lover and beat her so hard she was hospitalised, she claims.

Along with Mr Saedi she decided to escape, selling jewellery and raiding their savings to pay for the journey to Britain.

But since they arrived and claimed asylum, Ms Ghaedi said they were both imprisoned alongside criminals and had their applications refused.

She said Mr Saedi blamed her for what happened and started being violent towards her too, before choosing to return to Iran voluntarily.

Her current partner, Moshen Zadshir said he was desperately worried about her as she has attempted suicide in the past.

“She is still on hunger strike and her situation is not normal at all. I'm trying not to let her alone and look after her,” he said.

A spokesman from the UK Borders Agency said that the agency could not comment on individual cases.