Hitchin cancer sufferer faces imminent deportation from Russia
- Credit: Archant
A British citizen faces deportation from Russia because his visa application expired while receiving cancer treatment in hospital.
Dr John Gordon, who lived in Hitchin for 30 years and raised his family there, was receiving treatment for prostate cancer at Samara Oncology Hospital in Russia on August 5 – the day his visa to stay in the country expired.
Dr Gordon, who is still a member of the Hitchin 41 Club, told the Comet that two Russian policemen came to arrest him at the hospital the following day and doctors had to beg them to let him stay until he had properly recovered.
The 77-year-old, who moved to Russia in 1994, said: “After the doctors begged them to let me stay they left me alone but four days after I was released from hospital in September they came to my house and forced me to go to the police station.
“I could barely stand when they took me to court, where I was given no lawyer and a bad interpreter so I couldn’t understand what was going on.
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“I was taken in front of a female judge and was told I was being charged with breaching my visa. The whole thing took about 15 minutes and they found me guilty and ordered that I be deported.
“They totally ignored the fact that I’ve spent nearly 20 years in Russia and have never breached my visa before. They’ve released thousands of criminal prisoners in the past few months but I’m not a criminal, I’ve only committed an administrative error.”
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As part of his treatment for prostate cancer, Dr Gordon is supposed to be receiving radiotherapy, however, he claims Russian officials have banned hospitals from treating him because of his immigration status.
He also believes the only thing keeping him in the country currently is the fact doctors have said his blood pressure is too high to fly.
The professor – who has worked on several EU-funded agricultural projects in Russia – currently runs two English language schools in Samara, Russia’s sixth largest city, and revealed that if he was deported they would probably have to close.
He added: “I will keep going but realistically I think I will get the boot. What they really want is money but I refuse to pay any bribes. If I get deported the chances are that both schools will close and all the staff will loose their jobs.
“I do not want that to happen because we have a great little school which helps a lot of people.”
Dr Gordon’s appeal will be heard in the next few weeks and if he is unsuccessful he will be forced to leave Russia for a minimum of five years.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of the case of a British national in Samara, Russia, and have provided him with consular assistance.”