Australian Copts are appealing for a group of 10 Melbourne-based Christian asylum seekers not to be deported back to Egypt where they fear their lives could be in danger.

The 10 include a couple aged in their 70s who say they have no one to look after them in Egypt, a journalist and political activist who says he was threatened and assaulted after writing articles on the suffering of persecuted Copts, and two cousins who arrived in Australia in 2012 after Muslim extremists attacked their village.

Peter Tadros, spokesperson for the Australian Coptic Movement, says that Copts in Egypt are living in "daily danger" because the Egyptian Government does not protect them.

He says that granted only tourist visas on arriving in Australia, "these families will be forced to return unless the Australian Government stands by its promise to not send Coptic Christians back to face persecution and acts of terrorism".

Copts point to incidents such as the attack last December on a Coptic Christian church in Cairo which left 11 worshippers dead and a bus attack last May that left more than 25 dead as evidence of the dangers Christians in Egypt face.

Michael Ramzy, one of the two cousins who arrived in 2012, said that if he is forced to return to Egypt, he will face the "same targeted attacks" at his church, on feast days and in daily life.

"Our church is a terrorist target," said the law graduate. "I couldn’t open my phone shop because being Christian in Egypt is enough reason to be killed.”

His phone shop was among businesses looted when his village - El Ghorizat - was attacked in November, 2011.

His cousin, Raed Mikhel, said he arrived with hope for a better life in Australia but now waits in "limbo".

“After spending six years in Australia, I have nothing to show for it, I have been living a very stressful life with no hope, no future, and no goals,” he said. 

A spokeperson for Australia's Federal Department of Home Affairs told Sight that Alex Hawke, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, had announced last May that he would personallty review the cases of Coptic Christians in Australia who have been refused a protection visa and had that decision upheld by a review tribunal.

"Since his announcement, the Assistant Minister has been carefully assessing every case presented to him and is continuing to do so," the spokesperson said. "Assessments are made based on current country information and claims specific to each case."

The spokesperson, who wouldn't comment on individual cases due to privacy laws, said ministerial intervention was reserved for "unique and exceptional cases", and that the assistant minister would consider every case on its merits.

"The Australian Government continues to support Coptic Christians who have been assessed as being owed protection through the Refugee and Humanitarian Programme."