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PM: “Georgia doesn’t extradite its citizens to other countries”

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, January 27
Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvrikashvili, commented on the arrest of a Georgian soldier in Ukraine who is wanted by Russia, and said Georgia never extradited its citizens to other countries. Russia demands the extradition of the man for committing murder in Russia in 2003.

The PM also dismissed the opposition’s accusations about cooperating with Russia; the opposition claim that sending the soldier’s personal information to Moscow insulted all Georgian soldiers.

“Our statements on Gia Tsertsvadze's case are crystal clear: Georgia does not extradite its citizens to other countries, especially one with its military bases stationed on our territory,” Kvirikashvili said.

“Over the past two days, Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze has been in touch with Ukraine's Chief Prosecutor, and we certainly hope that this case will be closed without Tsertsvadze's extradition to Russia,” he added.

The PM said, however, that the government’s opponents wanted to keep themselves in ‘self-justification mode’.

“They have engaged their television station, their partner televisions, and a part of the NGO sector, to distract us from the main agenda and keep us proving that we are not ruining the country,” the PM stated.

He stressed it was the United National Movement government which showed disrespect towards soldiers and those serving the state’s interests.

The United National Movement and the European Georgia opposition parties, have accused the Government of cooperating with Russia over Tsertsvadze’s case, and disrespecting a soldier who fought for Georgia and Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

However, Georgia’s Interior Ministry stressed no communication took place between Georgia and Russia over Tsertsvadze.

Tsertsvadze was arrested in Ukraine on January 15, and is now waiting for the Court of Appeal’s verdict on his possible extradition to Russia.

Tsertsvadze, born on April 2, 1969 was put on the internationally wanted list on December 23, 2016 for further detention and extradition.

He is wanted by Russian law enforcement agencies for an alleged crime committed in 2003. Moscow claims he is guilty of mass premeditated murder, attempted murder with a group and the illegal possession of arms.

The family and lawyers of Tsertsvadze claim if extradited to Russia, he will either be tortured or murdered as “he fought against Russia”.

They claim Tsertsvadze is innocent and was not in Russia in 2003 at all.