Federal Court opens door for former KGB employee to rejoin family in Canada

VANCOUVER - A Russian man once employed as a KGB translator has new hope for reuniting with his family in Canada after he voluntarily left six years of church sanctuary in Vancouver.

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A Federal Court judge ruled in late November that Mikhail Lennikov's failed application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds must be re-examined.

Judge Elizabeth Heneghan directed the application be reviewed by a different federal immigration officer in her decision that was publicly released late last month.

Lennikov's lawyer, Hadayt Nazami, says a door has finally opened for his client and he's hopeful the man will be allowed back into Canada now that the Liberals have replaced the Conservative party as government.

Lennikov claimed sanctuary in the First Lutheran Church in June 2009 but gave up his fight to stay last August and returned to Russia, leaving behind his wife and adult son who are now Canadian citizens.

The Immigration and Refugee Board ordered him deported in 2006 based on accusations that he had worked as a KGB spy, but expert evidence stated he was coerced into work that was not espionage.


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