A FORMER journalist who fled to Britain from his native Russia for life-saving cancer surgery has failed in his bid for asylum.
Yury Ivanov, 67, was told by doctors in St Petersburg that his tumour could only be treated in the West.
In a desperate bid to save his life Mr Ivanov flew to London to claim asylum.
Mr Ivanov, who was sent to stay in a hostel in Huddersfield while his application was decided, is being assessed by the NHS, but faces deportation before any treatment can take place.
Doctors in Russia told him he had seven cancer viruses and a fast-growing tumour has developed in his thigh.
He was told that if he didn’t have his right leg amputated before July the cancer may prove terminal.
Now the Home Office has rejected his application and he has been told to leave by Monday.
Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Ivanov said: “I am slowly dying and sending me back is a death sentence.”
Mr Ivanov, who has a son and two granddaughters in Siberia, claims he was targeted by the Russian mafia after writing critical articles about the authorities.
In 2004 he says he was attacked with an iron bar and two years later received a sinister phone call in which he was warned to stop writing. The caller also threatened his elderly mother.
He heeded the warnings, but in May this year penned another article calling for a political shake-up in his homeland.
Mr Ivanov said he received another threatening phone call – then two days later fell ill and found a small lump in his hip.
He later claimed as part of his asylum bid that he could have been infected with the cancer by the mafia.
He said: “I saw an ex-KGB agent on TV saying how they put these viruses into capsules and infected people.
“I always ate at cafes and canteens and my food could easily have been tampered with.”
The Home Office rejected his claims as far-fetched saying there was no evidence that the phone calls were anything other than a “prank.”
In an interview with the Examiner, Mr Ivanov insisted he was telling the truth.