UK

MI5 Russian spy claims 'truly Kafkaesque'

Katia Zatuliveter
Image caption Miss Zatuliveter says she is struggling to find work since her release

A former parliamentary aide arrested over claims she is a Russian spy has vowed to stay in the UK and clear her name following her release on bail.

Katia Zatuliveter, 25, faces deportation in the new year but said she was determined to fight her case.

Her solicitor said her situation was "truly Kafkaesque" as she could be judged on MI5 evidence she may not see.

The Russian, who worked for Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock, was reportedly held on MI5 orders, citing national security.

The Portsmouth South MP has backed his former employee, saying he had no reason to believe she did anything but act honourably when she worked for him.

'Stringent bail conditions'

In a statement Miss Zatuliveter said: "I am not working for and have never worked for the Russian intelligence services.

"I have been released from detention on bail but I am having to abide by very difficult bail conditions.

"I have lost my job and am now looking for employment so that I can support myself but obviously given my situation it is very difficult.

"I do not understand why the deportation order has been made against me but I am determined to stay in the UK to fight to clear my name."

Miss Zatuliveter's bail conditions include a ban on her visiting Parliament or contacting Mr Hancock.

She must also tell Home Secretary Theresa May if she meets anyone other than her immediate family and legal team.

Her solicitor Tessa Gregory, of law firm Public Interest Lawyers, 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."

She said much of her client's case was 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," she said.

The term Kafkaesque is a reference to the nightmarish world portrayed in the work of Czech novelist Franz Kafka.

The Russian began working for Mr Hancock in November 2006 as an intern and was given a pass to the House of Commons before becoming his full-time parliamentary assistant.

Mr Hancock sits on the Commons Defence Select Committee but said Miss Zatuliveter had no involvement in any sensitive work.

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