KIEV, October 3. /TASS/. Former Georgian president and leader of the Movement of New Forces political party Mikheil Saakashvili has filed a request to provide him political asylum in Ukraine, his lawyer Markiyan Galabala told TASS on Tuesday.
"Saakashvili asks to be granted the status of a citizen who needs additional protection. Political asylum is an ordinary name for this status," he said.
The corresponding statement was sent to the office of the Ukrainian State Migration Service in the Lvov Region on September 11, the lawyer said. "The State Migration Service has not responded to our request yet. The response is to be received during the day, according to the law," Galabala added.
The extradition issue
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office and Justice Ministry state that the extradition issue for the former Georgian president has not been decided yet. The decision to eject Saakashvili will be taken by the Justice Ministry after corresponding examination, Ukraine’s Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko said on Tuesday. He explained that extradition is a strictly legal procedure and, as long as Ukraine is a democratic country, the final decision will be taken by the Justice Ministry after receiving all materials of pre-extradition check that is to be carried out by the Prosecutor General’s Office. Petrenko also stressed that this decision will not be politically biased.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko informed, for his part, that this examination is being carried out following Saakashvili’s illegal return to Ukraine. According to the prosecutor general, it is necessary to check, among other things, whether Saakashvili is charged in Georgia with extremely serious crimes that exist in Ukrainian law and whether there are conditions that prevent his extradition. Lutsenko stated that, in his opinion, such conditions exist, because after crossing the border Saakashvili filed documents to the migration service and the Interior Ministry that, according to Ukraine’s international obligations, prevent him from being extradited. This procedure will take a few more weeks, he said.
Saakashvili collects the ‘people’s will’
After returning to Ukraine, Movement of New Forces leader Mikheil Saakashvili stated that on October 17 he and his supporters "will place people’s demands on this power." That said, the former Odessa Region governor stressed many times that he would not run for any position in Ukraine.
Stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by Pyotr Poroshenko’s order, Saakashvili entered Ukraine through the Shegini border check point on September 10, with a crowd of supporters breaking through the cordon. On September 12, he declared his plans to travel through many cities and villages in Ukraine by car or auto stop, as he has no passports and cannot buy a plane or train ticket.