Karel Sroubek wants to be given a chance to start over again.

Sroubek, a Czech citizen who was granted residency despite having gang affiliations and serving a prison sentence for smuggling MDMA, told Newshub if he was deported it would be a death sentence.

"There is no safety for me in Europe, I can't travel under my name anywhere," he said.

"All I want is to be given one more chance."


Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has been under fire for his initial decision to grant Sroubek residency.

Jan Antolik (aka Karel Sroubek) passport. Photo / Supplied
Jan Antolik (aka Karel Sroubek) passport. Photo / Supplied

He has now issued a new deportation liability notice to Sroubek, two months after scrapping Sroubek's previous one and granting him a New Zealand residence visa under his real name.

It means Sroubek will be ordered out of the country after finishing his drug-smuggling sentence, and will not be allowed to return.

Sroubek was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison and is due to be released in 2022.

Sroubek's lawyer Paul Wicks QC confirmed that Sroubek will fight the deportation in the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds.

Sroubek acknowledged to Newshub that he had returned to the Czech Republic twice in 2009, but it was under a false name.

"There's no safety for me in Europe. I can't travel under my name anyway. I'm way worse off than I was before.

"I just missed home. I wanted to check on my parents and see if they were alright."


He said he was not what has been portrayed in the media - though he admitted to the conviction for drug-smuggling, saying that "crime didn't pay and I've lost so much".

"I'm not a gangster. I'm not a murderer or a career criminal. I just want to move on and be given a chance to start over again."

His comments follow weeks of political pressure on Lees-Galloway over his handling of the case, including his admission that he was unaware of court documents that showed Sroubek had returned to the Czech Republic in 2009.

Lees-Galloway has received a dressing-down from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over his handling of the case, but he has not offered his resignation, nor has it been asked for.

"She's certainly ... not happy with the way I have handled this case," Lees-Galloway said.

"She expects me to do better in the future and to make sure this process works for all cases in the future."


Immigration lawyer David Ryken, who did not want to comment on specific cases, said that a person could take a case to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds.

"Does the IPT consider refugee and protection issues in the course of determining a deportation? Absolutely. Has it done so? Many times."

The humanitarian test is whether there are exceptional circumstances that are unduly harsh or unjust. Refugee and protection issues, if genuine, are about the potential for serious harm.

Lees-Galloway said Sroubek's travel to the Czech Republic undermined Sroubek's claim that his life was in danger, but the IPT may consider that Sroubek's life is still in sufficient danger.

In the summary of the original case file, released under the Official Information Act, Sroubek claimed to be in danger from corrupt Czech authorities.

He referred to his 2011 trial, where Judge Roy Wade accepted that Sroubek's life was in danger if he were deported.

Sroubek said that the Czech police had targeted him through "threatening behaviour", used an actor to portray him unfairly in Czech media, and fabricated warrants to put his name on the Interpol watch list.


He claimed "widespread and well-known corruption" with the state authorities in the Czech Republic, links between organised crime and Czech police, and suggested that authorities there would kill him and make it "look like an accident".

"Mr Sroubek says that if he is deported, it would be a death sentence," the summary said.

Sroubek may also strengthen his appeal by challenging the new grounds for his deportation, which are based on Czech convictions from authorities he says are corrupt.

The other avenue for appeal - judicial review - needs to be based on grounds of fairness.

A review could be lodged on the basis that the Minister effectively reversed his decision, even though he had all the key information from the beginning.

"The evidence that the Immigration Minister is relying on now, that's been in the file the whole time," Sroubek said.


Lees-Galloway said he did not think there were grounds for a judicial review because the new deportation notice was based on information that was additional to what was in the original case file.