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Saakashvili cannot be extradited to Georgia after obtaining Ukrainian citizenship

May 31, 2015, 22:46 UTC+3 TBILISI
Under the Ukrainian constitution, a Ukrainian citizen cannot be extradited to another country
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TBILISI, May 31. /TASS/. Georgia’s former President Mikhail Saakashvili cannot be extradited to Georgia after he has been granted Ukrainian citizenship, Georgian Minister of Justice Teya Tsulukiani said on Sunday.

"Under the Ukrainian constitution, a Ukrainian citizen cannot be extradited to another country. And now that Saakashvili has been granted Ukrainian citizenship, there are no legal chances to have him extradited to Georgia," she told journalists.

Saakashvili was Georgia’s President from January 2004 to November 2007 and from January 2008 to November 2013. He left his country in mid-November 2013, days before the expiration of his presidential term and the inauguration of President Georgy Margvelashvili on November 17, 2013. After his departure from Georgia, Saakashvili stayed in the United States and Ukraine. In recent months, he has been in Kiev working in the rank of the International Reform Council chief. On May 30, Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili governor of the Odessa region and granted Ukrainian citizenship.

Georgian prosecutors brought several charges against Saakashvili in 2014. Thus, he is charged with the crack down on peaceful demonstrators on November 7, 2007; illegal intrusion into the building of the Imedi television channel; illegal acquisition of property belonging to businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili; the organization of an armed attack on deputy Valery Gelashvili in 2005; the cover-up of a crime and falsification of investigation into the 2006 murder of banker Sandro Girgvliani; the misappropriation of state funds in 2009-2012. Saakashvili was put on a police wanted list in Georgia. Later, Georgia’s Prosecutor General’s Office asked Interpol to issue an international warrant for his arrest. Saakashvili however says these charges are ungrounded.

In February 2015, Georgia’s prosecutors demanded Ukraine should detain and extradite Saakashvili. But "despite the existing extradition agreements between the two countries, the Ukrainian side refused to cooperate with Georgia," the Georgian prosecutor general’s office said back then. On April 1, 2015, Ukrainian prosecutors informed Georgia about the refusal to extradite the former Georgian president on grounds Georgia’s request was seeking to "persecute" Saakashvili, which "would run counter to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950.".

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