Saakashvili seeks political asylum in Ukraine – lawyer

20:29, 03 October 2017
Politics
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Ex-governor of Ukraine's Odesa region and ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili's lawyer Markiyan Halabala has announced that his client, who has recently been stripped of Ukrainian citizenship, has applied for political asylum in Ukraine.

Photo from UNIAN

The lawyer told UNIAN that Saakashvili personally applied to the State Migration Service of Ukraine on September 11 to obtain the status of a person who needs additional protection.

"He filed a respective application, applied ... for obtaining the status of a person in need of additional protection. He did not submit any other document," the lawyer said.

"It is the status of a person in need of additional protection, which is the legal term [for political asylum] and the legal name of this procedure," the lawyer added.

At the same time, the lawyer stressed that the migration authority had to reply within 24 hours, but there was no reaction to the lawyer's requests.

Read alsoLviv court finds Saakashvili guilty of illegally crossing Ukraine's borderSaakashvili's defense has already appealed against the authority's inaction, he said.

"We've filed a lawsuit to recognize the inaction as illegal and requested that the Main Directorate of the State Migration Service in Lviv region consider Saakashvili's application," the lawyer said.

The date of the hearing is still unknown, he added. The defense's claim will be considered by Lviv District Administrative Court.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Saakashvili was stripped of his Georgian citizenship in 2015 after he took Ukrainian citizenship to become Odesa region's governor at the request of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. He resigned as Odesa governor in November 2016 and was stripped of Ukrainian citizenship in July 2017.

On September 10, Saakashvili defied Ukrainian authorities and made a crossing into the country from Poland, helped by hundreds of his supporters.

The Ukrainian authorities on September 12 formally served notice on Saakashvili in Lviv for what officials called his illegal entry into the country.

Saakashvili is facing extradition at the Georgian authorities' request.

However, Lutsenko said: "Saakashvili will not be arrested in this case, Saakashvili cannot be extradited from this country while he has a residence permit or other document that he has filed."

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