Kentish Town: Stoly given 14 days to challenge deportation after 20k-strong petition handed in
- Credit: Jo Syz
A man who has worked in Kentish Town for 15 years and lived in London for 26 will have two weeks to challenge his deportation after an intervention by MP Keir Starmer.
As reported in the Ham&High, Stojan “Stoly” Jankovic was arrested on Thursday after reporting to an immigration centre – something he has done once a month for many years – and told he could be deported as soon as tomorrow.
During his time at Earth Natural Foods, in Kentish Town Road, he became “part of the community” and won many friends – lots of whom signed a 20,000-strong petition calling for his deportation to be halted.
It was given to Home Secretary Amber Rudd this afternoon.
Now Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer has announced Stoly will be given two weeks to challenge his deportation.
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He said: “I am pleased to report that, after discussions with Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill’s Private Office, it has been agreed that no removal direction in the Stoly Jankovic case will be set until 14 days from today.
“That provides time for proper representations to be made and legal advice to be given.”
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Stoly, who was born in Yugoslavia but fled to the UK when warfare that ultimately broke up his country was beginning, said he would not have any “frames of reference” if he was sent back to the Balkans.
He added: “[London] is my neighbourhood, my culture.”
John Grayson, the owner of Earth, said there was “nothing hidden or underhand” about his permission to work in the UK.
He asked: “How can the government track someone’s employment, collect their signature on a monthly immigration register, and take their tax and NI contributions for 26 years, before deciding that they cannot remain in the country?”
Stoly was being held in the Verne immigration centre on the island of Portland in Dorset, but Highgate Green Party councillor Sian Berry told the Ham&High he has now been released.
Supporters said he had no time to find a lawyer or mount a legal challenge to his deportation.
They also said Stoly, whose UK asylum application was rejected in 1999, would have to rely on his elderly mother were he sent to Serbia – a country where he has never had citizenship.
The petition was started by customers Neil Finer and Sue Odell.
Ms Odell said Stoly is the “loveliest man you could hope to meet,” adding: “He’s the heart and soul of the shop.
“He knows all the regulars by name. He’s incredibly kind, helping less able-bodied customers with their shopping, taking new colleagues under his wing, always thoughtful and entertaining with the kids.”
The Home Office said it would not comment on an individual case.
To sign the petition, click here.