Singer wins stage one of battle to stay in UK

A RUSSIAN singer who is five months pregnant has won a vital battle against the Home Office as she fights to stay in Britain

Ben McPartland

A RUSSIAN singer who is five months pregnant has won a vital battle against the Home Office as she fights to stay in Britain.

Zhanna Andrianova, 21, aka Jahna Sebastian, from Tufnell Park, was told she would be sent back to her native country but fears for her life at the hands of Russia's neo-Nazi thugs. She is half Indian and supports the anti-fascist movement.

Last Tuesday a High Court judge upheld Ms Andrianova's appeal and has ordered immigration officers to take another look at her case because they may have made a mistake.

And there was more good news for the singer the next day when she was allowed to return to her Tufnell Park home after being locked up in Yarl's Wood detention centre since November 21.

She said: "It feels great. I still can't believe I am out. The first day back I woke up and thought am I really in my own room again?

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"The difference between where I was and a prison is that in a detention centre you don't know why you are being locked up or how long it is going to be before you get out. They could ring you up at any point and tell you they are picking you up to take you to the airport. I was told originally I would only be there for seven days."

High Court judge Alan Wilkie wants the immigration department to look at her case again because he thinks her welfare can not be guaranteed if she is forced to return to Russia.

Making his judgement he said: "In the light of the weight of objective evidence and the particular position of this claimant it may be that the decision of the Immigration Judge on sufficiency of protection was erroneous in law and that there is a real prospect of a different outcome on reconsideration."

Russia has seen a worrying rise in violent far-right gangs since the end of the Soviet era. Hundreds of immigrants have been attacked or even killed and even Britain's Foreign Office carries warnings on its website about the increase in racially-motivated attacks.

Ms Andrianova's solicitor Khalid Sofi, who is based in Kentish Town Road, says his client will now get a chance of a fair hearing.

He said: "The judge recognised that she has been unfairly detained. Now we have an opportunity to put her case properly before a tribunal, to gather evidence, give statements and get expert reports, which was all denied before.

"We keep telling them this case needs looking at again. She has suffered because she is half Indian and because she has sung songs against president Putin."

Ms Andrianova, who graduated from the Russian Academy of Music in 2006, is eager to concentrate on her career again after losing out on two months of her life.