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Georgia asks Ukraine to extradite ex-president Saakashvili

Saakashvili was granted Ukrainian citizenship in 2015
Mikheil Saakashvili Arkhip Vereschagin/TASS
Mikheil Saakashvili
© Arkhip Vereschagin/TASS

KIEV, July 27. /TASS/. The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has sent a formal request to the law enforcement agencies in some countries, including Ukraine, for the extradition of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, the Imedi TV channel reported on Friday citing a written reply from the Prosecutor’s Office.

"Concerning Mikheil Saakashvili, the Prosecutor’s Office is in talks with the competent authorities in various countries, all necessary legal procedures are underway," the Prosecutor’s Office said in its letter. It noted that Georgia had sent a request for Saakashvili’s extradition to Ukraine, adding that "the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office is working closely with Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s Office."

Georgian Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani said on July 31 Tbilisi was ready to demand Saakashvili’s extradition from any country where the former president could choose to stay after his Ukrainian citizenship had been revoked. "If it is Ukraine, all legal procedures are over, and all the evidence we had back in 2014-2-15 has been handed over to the Ukrainian side. As for other countries, for example, the United States, if the former president decides to stay there, we will need legal consultations with those countries, including negotiations and the extradition agreements," the minister explained.

Former Georgian President and ex-Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili said earlier this week he is going to return to Ukraine on September 10.

Ex-president without citizenship

Saakashvili served as Georgia’s President from January 2004 to November 2007 and from January 2008 to mid-November 2013. In November 2013, he left the country two days before his term of office expired and new President Giorgi Margvelashvili was sworn in. In May 2015, Saakashvili was granted Ukrainian citizenship, which resulted in his Georgian citizenship being terminated by the decision of the Georgian president.

In 2014, the former president faced a number of charges in Georgia, and in February 2015 the country’s Prosecutor’s Office lodged a motion with the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office to extradite Saakashvili. However, the request was turned down.

Saakashvili served as Odessa Region Governor from May 30, 2015, to November 9, 2016. but then tendered his resignation. On July 26, 2017, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship. In the second half of July Saakashvili was in the US, in early August - in Poland, and then in Lithuania and Hungary.