'Russian spy' MP's aide must wait to clear name

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A former parliamentary researcher for a Portsmouth MP, who was accused of spying for Russia, will have to wait more than nine months to try to clear her name and remain in Britain.

Katia Zatuliveter, 25, is fighting deportation amid suspicions that she used her position as an assistant to Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock to pass information to Russian intelligence.

But Russian Ms Zatuliveter, who is on bail on stringent conditions, will not be able to challenge her deportation until a four-day hearing at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) starting on October 18.

Jonathan Glasson, representing the Home Secretary, confirmed a witness from the Security Services would be giving evidence during the hearing in October.

Parts of the four-day hearing, including the evidence from the security services, are expected to be held behind closed doors. During a short hearing before a judge in London today, Miss Zatuliveter, wearing a floral blouse and a long black skirt, sat at the back of the court with her hands clasped on her crossed legs.

She plans to challenge her bail conditions, which currently ban her from visiting Parliament or contacting Mr Hancock. She must also notify Home Secretary Theresa May if she meets anyone other than her immediate family and her legal team.

Last month, her solicitor, Tessa Gregory, of Public Interest Lawyers, said Miss Zatuliveter 'vehemently denies' the claims and wants to clear her name as soon as possible.

She said: 'Katia's present situation is truly Kafkaesque.

'She has been arrested, detained and is now living under stringent bail conditions yet we still have no inkling as to the Home Secretary's case against her. We are appealing the deportation order and seeking to have it quashed. Due to national security concerns much of the case is likely to be heard in closed courts with special advocates appointed by the Attorney General dealing with the evidence.

'This means that our client is unlikely to ever know the full details of the case against her.'

Miss Zatuliveter began working for Mr Hancock as an intern in November 2006, soon after she arrived in Britain to study for a master's degree at Bradford University.

The Russian was stopped at Gatwick Airport in August and then arrested at the start of December amid fears she was engaged in espionage. The Government wants to deport her on the grounds her presence is a danger to national security.