Court Offers No Reprieve For Former KGB Officer

Court offers no reprieve for former KGB officer

The Canadian Press
Updated Mon. Jun. 1 2009 8:45 PM ET

VANCOUVER — A former KGB officer living in British Columbia is facing deportation to Russia after a federal court rejected his last-ditch attempt to stay.

A court ruling Monday said that Mikhail Lennikov, who lives in Burnaby, B.C., with is wife and teenaged son, has made use of every procedure available under the Immigration Act and has been ordered deported.

“At some point, a deportation order must be carried out, otherwise the integrity of the process is called into question,” said the ruling by Judge Russel Zinn.

Lennikov was granted a permit to study in Canada in July 1997. He and his wife, Irina Lennikova, along with his son, Dmitri, arrived that September.

In 1999, Lennikov's application for permanent residence was refused, and in 2002 he was informed by immigration officials that there were reasonable grounds to believe he may have engaged in acts of espionage or subversion against a democratic government during his tenure at the Soviet spy agency.

In July 2004, a Canada Border Services Agency report found Lennikov was inadmissible to Canada because of his KGB past, and in 2006 an Immigration and Refugee Board found him inadmissible. He was ordered deported.

He's since been refused a three-year resident permit and an exemption based on the risk he could face upon his return to Russia.

Lennikov's wife and teenaged son may yet be able to remain on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, but the federal immigration minister has refused his appeal.

Now the Federal Court has refused to stay his deportation pending a judicial review of the federal minister's decision.

Lennikov has said he was up front about his past at the Soviet spy agency since his arrival in Canada 12 years ago and even gave CSIS a debriefing on the KGB.

He has said he was pressured into joining the Cold War spy agency as a young man, and did innocuous, office work for the notorious Soviet organization.

Lennikov told the court that he will still face repercussions in Russia for speaking out, but Zinn rejected the argument.

“This has already been looked at… and has been determined not to be well-founded,” the judge wrote.

Zinn acknowledged that Lennikov's family may be distressed about his deportation, but no more than every family that experiences the removal of a husband and father.

“Although the applicant and his family have many supporters and they have apparently conducted themselves well while in Canada, the integrity and fairness of the (Immigration) Act, and public confidence therein, would not be promoted by granting a stay in these circumstances,” said the ruling.