NICOLA STURGEON has backed a 10-year-old orphan seeking asylum in Scotland.
The First Minister spoke out after the plight of Giorgi Kakava, who has lived in Glasgow since he was three, was highlighted in The Sunday Post.
At Holyrood, she told MSPs the Home Office should treat his application to stay with “compassion and common sense”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “This is a really tragic situation and it is absolutely heartbreaking to hear what Giorgi has been through.
“I have been deeply touched to hear how the local community in Springburn has rallied round, really proving that people make Glasgow.”
Giorgi’s grandmother Ketino Batkhadze became Giorgi’s legal guardian after his mum Sopio, 35, died in February after a long illness.
She had fled her home country after the death of her husband, Giorgi’s father, because he was threatened by gangland debt collectors.
Giorgi’s bid to stay in Scotland has now won cross-party political backing.
Scottish Tory MSP Annie Wells has written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid asking him to allow the 10-year-old to stay in the only city he has known as home.
Labour MP Paul Sweeney, who recently raised the case with Prime Minister Theresa May, has secured a fast-track decision from the Home Office.
It follows the First Minister’s demand that the youngster be allowed to remain in Scotland.
In her letter to Tory MP Mr Javid, Ms Wells said: “As I am sure you are aware, there has been a lot of media and public attention around this case due to the circumstances.
“His mother Sopio Baikhadze fled Georgia after discovering Giorgi’s father, who later died, owed money to gangsters.
“Due to the danger Giorgi could face should he be deported, I would like to ask that this case be looked upon favourably and with compassion.”
In a bid to lessen the stress for Giorgi and Ketino, Glasgow North MP Mr Sweeney has successfully lobbied the UK Government to shorted the usual six month assessment process.
Mr Sweeney said: “We have managed to get it fast-tracked to minimise the distress for Giorgi.”
On Thursday, the First Minister was responding to a question by Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn MSP Bob Doris.
Last night, Mr Doris told The Sunday Post: “It’s not good enough to just talk about a less hostile environment for asylum seekers, what the most vulnerable people in our society need are deeds not words.
“The Home Office should make good that rhetoric and guarantee Giorgi’s future in Scotland, cared for by his gran, as speedily as possible.”
Glasgow’s Green MSP Patrick Harvie said Giorgi was “just as Glaswegian as me or anyone else in the city”.
He added: “After losing both his parents, we should be doing all that we can to put the proper support in place.”
An online petition started by Giorgi’s local church minister has gathered more than 70,000 signatures.
Rev Brian Casey, of Springburn Parish Church, said: “Glasgow is the only home Giorgi knows and loves and we want him to remain in Springburn with his loving grandmother, Ketino.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection.
“While an asylum claim is outstanding, we would not be seeking removal.”
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