FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged her support for a campaign to stop two asylum seeker brothers from being deported from Scotland.

She described Somer and Areeb Umeed Bakhsh, who are 15 and 13, as a “credit” to the country.

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon said her government would examine what could be done to ensure the boys are not deported to Pakistan.

Ms Sturgeon indicated her backing for the Church of Scotland’s campaign after Maryhill and Springburn MSP Bob Doris raised the Christian family’s case.

The brothers fear they could be murdered by Islamic extremists if they are removed from their home in Glasgow and sent back to the country of their birth where blasphemy carries the death penalty.

A petition calling on the Home Office not to deport the boys started by Reverend Linda Pollock, minister of the Possilpark Parish Church in Glasgow, has been signed by more than 85,000 people to date.

It was handed over to the UK Government’s Immigration Enforcement Reporting Centre in Glasgow two weeks ago.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I am really heartened to hear how the community have rallied round the Bakhsh family and about the response to the Rev Pollock’s petition.

“I would also like to congratulate Somer and Areeb on what they have achieved in very, very difficult circumstances.

“They are an absolute credit to their parents, their school, their community and indeed they are a credit to Scotland.

“The Scottish Government will continue to look at what appropriate representations we can make.”

Ms Sturgeon said there were “deficiencies” in the UK Government’s asylum regime.