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Stoly: Health food shop worker unable to work as deportation threat still looms

Crowd-funding appeal helps pay for immigration appeal

12 April, 2017 — By William McLennan

Stoly Jankovic has lived in the UK for 26 years

A POPULAR Kentish Town figure who was freed by border police last week after massive public opposition to his detention has said he is stuck in “limbo” while he waits for his immigration appeal to be heard.

Stojan Jankovic, who is widely known from his job at Earth Natural Foods, was released from an immigration removal centre after 20,000 people signed a petition asking the government to “stop the shameful deportation”.

Attempts to kick him out of the country were delayed after Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer intervened, giving Mr Jankovic, who is known as Stoly, time to seek legal advice. A team of solicitors are now working to secure his right to remain in the country and he will meet with Home Office immigration officials in early May.

In the meantime, he is unable to return to work. “I’m in a kind of limbo at the moment,” he said. “I’m in enforced retirement. It’s not a pleasant thing, but I’m getting used to it. I just want to put all this behind me and return to normality. The sooner I can return to work, the better.”

The 53-year-old moved to London in 1991. He fled his home in Yugoslavia on the eve of a war that led to the break-up of the republic into independent states. He has spent the past 15 years working in Kentish Town, first at Bumblebee Natural Foods in Brecknock Road and then Earth Natural Foods in Kentish Town Road, where he has served customers for the past decade.

News of his detention and looming deportation caused outrage in NW5. The disquiet was quickly harnessed with a petition and later a fundraising drive to help cover mounting legal costs. Sue Odell and Richard Dent, who organised the crowdfunding campaign that has so far reached nearly £8,500, informed donors yesterday that thanks to their support Mr Jankovic has been able “to afford the application fees to lodge an appeal”. They wrote: “The application was lodged on his behalf and we await the decision. Given that an application has been lodged, Stoly should not be removed whilst the matter is considered.”

Mr Dent added: “We are all keeping our fingers tightly crossed for lovely Stoly.”

Mr Jankovic thanked all those who had offered support in the past fortnight. He said: “The kindness and generosity I’ve encountered is like being given a beautiful flower.”

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