A campaign to save a 10-year-old Glasgow-based orphan from being sent back to Georgia has been backed by political and religious leaders.
Giorgi Kakava's future was thrown into doubt after the death of his mother Sopio Baikhadze in February. She died while seeking asylum, leaving the youngster’s future up in the air.
There are now warnings the youngster’s life could be in danger from gangsters if he is sent home.
Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said the schoolboy was “just as Glaswegian as me or anyone else in this city”.
He spoke out after Rev Brian Casey of Springburn Parish Church in Glasgow launched an online 38 Degrees petition to try and prevent the schoolboy from being deported to Georgia, the country of his birth. Hundreds of people have signed it so far.
Read the petition
The Home Office has been urged to immediately grant the youngster asylum. A crunch meeting on the youngster’s future will be held next week.
Mr Casey said he hoped mass public support would encourage the Home Office to show compassion for the schoolboy, who has no memory of his birth country and doesn’t speak the language.
Sopio Baikhadze, who was known as Sophie, died at her home in Glasgow in February. The freelance translator, whose son helped nurse her at her bedside, lived in the city for around seven years.
Her mother, Ketino Baikhadze, is now Giorgi’s legal guardian and the Home Office is due to examine their asylum applications next week.
Mr Harvie plans to lodge a motion in the Scottish Parliament, calling on the Home Office to immediately grant them asylum.
“The country’s immigration system is morally bankrupt if a 10-year-old child, who has spent almost all of his life here, is being threatened with deportation to a country he has no memory of and where he doesn’t speak the language,” he said.
“After losing both his parents, we should be doing all that we can to put the proper support in place, not forcing him onto a plane and out of the country.
“As far as I’m concerned he’s just as Glaswegian as me or anyone else in this city.
“Giorgi and his grandmother deserve the right to live permanently in the place they call home.”
Mr Casey, who is a chaplain at the boy’s primary school, said Giorgi and his mother fled Georgia when he was very young because his life was in danger.
“Gangsters in Georgia had threatened to kill him over a debt owed by his father,” he said.
“They came to Scotland seeking safety and assurances that they would be looked after.”