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Chief Prosecutor says Ukraine’s constitution hinders Saakashvili’s extradition

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, July 21
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze says that Ukraine’s Constitution is a key obstacle for former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s extradition to Georgia.

Shotadze’s comments came after Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko’s statements in Tbilisi, who initially said Georgia did not request Saakashvili’s extradition but later admitted he was unaware that Georgia had demanded the former president’s extradition twice.

Poroshenko stressed Saakashvili’s extradition was a “purely legal issue” and if his alleged criminal activities were confirmed, Ukraine would “act appropriately”.

The President added that as far as he was informed, the reason for the refusal of Saakashvili’s extradition was a lack of information pertaining to his alleged crimes.

“Ukraine’s constitution prohibits the extradition of its citizens, which is a main obstacle in the case,” Shotadze said.

The same was stated by Saakashvili on his Facebook page, where he wrote that if Poroshenko accepted his extradition it would be the violation of Ukrainian and international laws.

He also advised Poroshenko to dismiss his legal advisers as they did not inform him over the regulations.

Georgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani claims that the Prosecutor’s Office has sent all the evidence and information to Ukraine which allegedly proves Saakashvili is guilty of several crimes.

Saakashvili is currently in Ukraine, and possesses only Ukrainian citizenship.

Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili as Odessa’s Governor in May 2015, but in November 2016 the Georgian ex-President quit the post, accusing Poroshenko of lobbying for corruption.

Saakashvili, who served as Georgia’s third president from 2004 to 2007, and again from 2008 to 2013, announced his resignation as Odessa’s Governor at a special press conference on November 7, 2016.

Saakashvili said that despite his resignation, he would continue his fight against corruption in Ukraine along with “young and honest forces”.

In 2014,Saakashvili was officially charged for his role in several crimes in Georgia, however by the time his case went through court he was already in Ukraine.

Saakashvili is accused of the violent dispersal of anti-governmental mass protests on November 7 2007, the unlawful raiding of the Imedi television company by riot police, and the illegal take-over of property owned by late media tycoon Badri (Arkadi) Patarkatsishvili.

Prior to his appointment as Governor of Odessa, Saakashvili received Ukrainian citizenship.

Receiving Ukrainian citizenship meant Saakashvili’s Georgian citizenship was automatically revoked, as Georgian legislation prohibited people from holding dual citizenship except for in exceptional circumstances.

Saakashvili is no longer a Georgian citizen, but if he returns to Georgia he will face a court of law.