The European Court of Human Rights has intervened in the case of a Sligo-based Nigerian woman who lost her High Court bid to prevent her deportation.

It has asked the Irish Government not to deport Pamela Izevbekhai pending the hearing of her case at the ECHR.

Amnesty International welcomed the move and said it 'assumed the Government would comply with the instruction of the ECHR'.

Amnesty says that lawyers for Pamela Izevebekhai applied to the European Court of Human Rights to intervene in her case, under the terms of Rule 39 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

This rule allows people facing removal from a country - who have exhausted their legal rights - to make an emergency application to the ECHR seeking intervention.

Amnesty says a letter faxed to Ms Izevebekhai's legal team this afternoon, informed them that the Court had granted this request.

According to Amnesty, the ECHR will now hear her case on the 9 December and pending this hearing, the Court has contacted the Government requesting that Pamela Izevebekhai and her children are not deported before midnight on 10 December.

Ms Izevbekhai has claimed that her two daughters aged seven and five would be forced to undergo female genital mutilation by her husband's family if they are forced to return to Nigeria.

She had sought an injunction preventing her deportation until the outcome of another legal challenge.

Today's High Court decision is the latest in a long running legal battle to prevent her deportation along with her daughters which has been running since 2005.

Mr Justice John Hedigan ruled that he could not interfere with a valid deportation order where there were no new or exceptional circumstances since the case was assessed by the statutory bodies involved in the asylum process.

The Irish Refugee Council has called on the Minister for Justice to reconsider a decision to deport Ms Izevbekhai.

The Council said it was very disappointed with the decision and said it did not believe the Irish people would consider it to be in the common good to deport the woman and her two daughters.

The Council said it did not believe she and her daughters would be safe anywhere in Nigeria.