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Friday, 15 June 2018

Nicola Sturgeon calls for urgent review into case of orphan facing deportation

Written by Lucinda Cameron and Lynsey Bews

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on the Home Office to "urgently review" the case of a 10-year-old orphan who is facing deportation.

Ms Sturgeon has called on the Home Office to show "compassion" and "common sense" towards Giorgi Kakava who has lived in Scotland for most of his life.

Giorgi was just three when he and his mother Sopio fled Georgia and sought asylum in Glasgow because his life was allegedly threatened by people his late father is said to have owed money to.

His mother died in February after a long illness while awaiting the outcome of an appeal for asylum for her and her son, leaving his future uncertain.

Giorgi's grandmother, Ketino Baikhadze, is now his legal guardian and is also seeking asylum so she can stay in Glasgow and look after him.

More than 70,000 people have signed a petition to keep Giorgi in Glasgow, which was launched by Church of Scotland minister Reverend Brian Casey of Springburn Parish Church.

The case was raised at First Minister's Questions at Holyrood by MSP Bob Doris, whose constituency covers Giorgi's Springburn home.

Ms Sturgeon said: "This is a really tragic situation, and it's absolutely heartbreaking to hear what Giorgi has been through.

"That said I have been deeply touched to hear how the local community in Springburn has rallied round.

"Giorgi's case needs common sense but above all it needs compassion, and I hope the Home Office will urgently review it with Giorgi's best interests at the heart of the decision-making, in fact with Girogi's best interests as the only factor in their decision-making.

"I hope the outcome of this case is that Giorgi is allowed to stay here, grow up here and, I am sure as he gets older, make a fantastic contribution to the country not only that he calls home but I think the country that considers Scotland to be his home."

The petition calls on Home Secretary Sajid Javid not to "deport 10-year-old orphan Giorgi to a country he doesn't know."

Rev Casey said: "I am very pleased and grateful that the First Minister has pledged her personal support to try and keep Giorgi in the city where he belongs.

"He is, by all intents and purposes, a wee Scottish boy who loves football, boxing, playing the guitar and has lots of friends.

"I pray that the Home Office listen to Miss Sturgeon's pleas and demonstrate compassion and decency when considering his case."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Kirsty O'Connor / PA Wire.