December 14, 2018

Today was another surprising twist in the seemingly cut and dry conclusion to the long process that had finally resulted in an order for my deportation. This morning I received a phone call shortly before 10am informing me that my presence was required at the regional courthouse to sign some papers. Much to my surprise, it was an appeal from the immigration department requesting that the judge’s guilty verdict and deportation order be overturned. I could not immagine what would prompt them to do so, so it was with great curiousity that I read the appeal. As I read on, I soon discovered that the appeal was based on the fact that the judge declined to order my confinement in a detention facility. I was informed that I must return to the courthouse at 2:30pm for a hearing to decide the outcome of the appeal. At the hearing, I was given the chance to explain the lack of necessity to confine me, based on the fact of my continued cooperation since the first day of my arrival, 4 1/2 months earlier. Upon conclusion, the regional court judge made his ruling to vacate the judgment of guilt and the order of deportation, explaining the error on the judge’s part in allowing me to continue to live freely in Russia without proper documentation. He further ordered the case to go back to trial to be retried, explaining that the entire case would be reconsidered and that I would again have the chance to re-present my case in its entirety. He explained that the process will move very quickly and I would likely be informed on Monday of the time of the trial. I was preparing to appeal the decesion myself, although I doubt they would have granted my appeal, yet irronicly, the immigration office has themselves reopened the door for me to argue the case once more. Now is coming trial number four!