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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deserter to Stay in Jail Until Deported

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TORONTO — A man who deserted the Soviet Red Army almost a decade ago and has been on the run ever since must stay in a Canadian detention center until the day he is deported to Russia, immigration officials ruled.

Arkady Bykov was 18 when he fled the Soviet army in 1991, and after years of stealthy border crossings and life in the shadows, he arrived in Canada, hoping for asylum. But Canadian officials are intent on sending him home, where he could face up to 20 years in prison.

Bykov’s hearing Monday before an immigration panel was to determine whether he could be trusted to obey the deportation order. Officials ruled he should stay behind bars.

"The immigration lady says I am bad, I am dangerous for the street," Bykov said by telephone after Monday’s hearing. "She doesn’t say anything about what is going to happen when I go to Russia and get sent to Siberian jail."

Bykov’s lawyer, Nancy Doray, is preparing a last-chance application for asylum on humanitarian grounds, which Canadian officials say they will consider.

Surprisingly, a main stumbling block to his deportation has been the Russians. Russian diplomats in Montreal won’t issue Bykov the necessary travel documents, saying he never applied for Russian citizenship after the Soviet Union collapsed and is officially stateless.

Canadian authorities insist that his papers are in order.