4 Apr 2019 12:13

Saakashvili has chances of regaining Ukrainian citizenship after April 21 - lawyer

KYIV. April 4 (Interfax) - The court proceedings in the Ukrainian Supreme Court on the lawsuit against the deprivation of Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's ex-president and former governor of the Odesa region, of Ukrainian citizenship, may gain pace after the Ukrainian presidential election on April 21, his lawyer Ruslan Chernolutskiy said.

Chernolutskiy wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday that he had filed a request with the Supreme Court's Cassation Administrative Court on March 21 seeking information on the results of a handwriting evaluation in the case involving Saakashvili being illegal deprived of Ukrainian citizenship, as well as information on what stage the case is at.

The Supreme Court told the lawyer on March 27 that since the moment the case materials had been sent to the Kyiv forensic evaluation institute, the materials and experts' conclusions had not been returned to the court.

"This only shows that the controlled bodies of authority and the judicial authorities have delayed the results of the evaluation of Saakashvili's signature (on his citizenship application, which officials forged) for nine months. We will also contest the border guards' ban in the Supreme Court, by the way, but the Supreme Court is also 'on hold.' There is hope that the case will be resumed and a decision will promptly be made in Saakashvili's favor on April 21, after the election of the new president," Chernolutskiy said.

According to earlier reports, Saakashvili, who is barred from entering Ukraine until February 13, 2021, said in his interview on March 12 that he was intending to return to Ukraine on April 1 and had already purchased a plane ticket.

After exit poll results were announced in the Ukrainian presidential election on March 31, Saakashvili called on Ukraine's democratic forces to support presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky.

He later said on television that his return to Ukraine was postponed until the end of the presidential election, following which he said he is confident President Petro Poroshenko's order to bar him from the country will lose force.

Saakashvili was detained in the restaurant Suluguni in central Kyiv on February 12 2018, after which he was taken to the Boryspil airport and sent to Poland by plane. The Ukrainian authorities said this had been done under a readmission procedure because Saakashvili, as a stateless person, was staying on the territory of Ukraine illegally, which he had entered from Poland in September 2017 accompanied by clashes on the border between his supporters and border guards and law enforcement officers.