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Stoly Jankovic: fundraising drive to cover legal fight against deportation

Friends say situation is "desperate" with deportation still looming

04 April, 2017 — By William McLennan

Mr Jankovic returned home last night but could still be kicked out of the country 

FRIENDS of a popular Kentish Town figure who is facing deportation within weeks have launched an urgent fundraising drive to cover the costs of a legal challenge.

Stojan Jankovic, who has lived in Britain for 26 years and worked at Earth Natural Foods for the past decade, was detained by border police on Thursday and told he could be deported within days.

The 53-year-old, who is known as Stoly, was released yesterday and his deportation was delayed by a fortnight, following a massive public backlash and the intervention of Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer.


Sue Odell, who is helping to organise the fundraising drive and was also behind a 23,000-strong petition calling for his deportation to be stopped, said the situation was now “desperate”.

She said the money is needed to cover urgent legal costs and, if attempts fail to prevent deportation, to help him relocate.

Mr Jankovic came to London in 1991, fleeing his home in what was then the Republic of Yugoslavia as tensions mounted ahead of the war that would go on to claim an estimated 140,000 lives. He has lived in London ever since and worked in Kentish Town for the past 15 years.

He was detained on Thursday as he attended a monthly appointment at an immigration reporting centre in London Bridge. With only the clothes on his back, he was transported to The Verne Immigration Removal Centre – a former fortress and prison in the Isle of Portland, Dorset.

On Monday, the Immigration Minister agreed to delay deportation for at least two weeks, after Mr Starmer intervened.

“This was about getting the time necessary to ensure that Stoly had proper advice and representation,” Mr Starmer said.

“They were proposing at one stage to remove him tomorrow, which didn’t even allow him time to get proper advice. This is a successful stage one, but there is much more to do.”

Speaking to the New Journal from the “induction” wing of the detention centre on Friday evening, Mr Jankovic said that his failure to get to grips with the bureaucracy of the immigration system was to blame for the “sticky situation” he found himself in.

“I see myself as completely assimilated,” he said. “I don’t know what more I can do in that respect. This is my neighbourhood, my culture. If you don’t mind me saying so assertively, this is my place. Why is it not my place? Because I don’t have the proper papers signed. I’m sorry, that’s my fault, I admit it.”

He said: “I am absolutely mortified. I’m not mortified and afraid of this place. This [detention centre] is fine, there’s nothing scary about it, but I’m mortified about losing my life.”

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