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Interpol removes ex-UNM official from its red notice list

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, March 24
Former Georgian Official Data Akhalaia, who has been charged in absentia for several crimes, is no longer on Interpol’s wanted list according to Akhalaia’s sister-in-law. Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office later confirmed the information.

“Interpol has stopped its international search for Akhalai. They named possible political persecution as the reason,” stated Ani Nadareishvili.

However, Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office said his removal from the list was because of a procedural issue and nothing to do with political persecution.

The Office said when making the decision, the Interpol General Secretariat relied upon the recent guidelines approved by the Interpol Executive Committee on February 18 2015.

“Akhalaia was removed from the list as he was granted the status of a refugee by another country,” reads the statement.

The Office said several points of the new guideline were disapproved by the Georgian side and they would use all measures to protest the new regulations and bring Akhalaia to justice.

Akhalaia is accused of life-threatening violence, illegal imprisonment, abuse of authority and fraud.

He fled to Greece after he was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months imprisonment by the Georgian court in absentia in 2014.

However, in Greece he was detained by the local authorities while he was trying to enter the country from Italy using a forged passport issued in the name of Otar Urushadze.

But on April 24, 2015, Greece has refused to extradite Akhalaia to Georgia and released him after paying bail worth 300,000 EURO.

Currently Akhalaia is in Greece with the status of a refugee.