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Ukraine’s Chief Prosecutor Says Ex-Georgian President Saakashvili May Be Extradited

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, December 14
(KIYV)--Ukraine’s Chief Prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko on Tuesday said Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili could be extradited to Tbilisi if he refuses to leave Kyiv voluntarily.

“Everything is depends on Saakashvili’s decision. If he refuses to leave Ukraine and voluntarily return to Georgia, he will face all legal procedures, including his possible extradition to Georgia,” said Lutsenko.

Saakashvili responded to Lutsenko’s threat by claiming he is “unqualified and unfit for office”.

Saakashvili faces several charges in Georgia stemming from his decade in office as the country’s leader from 2003-2013.

Lutsenko ordered Saakashvili’s arrest on December 5, but was forced to back down after hundreds of anti-government protestors forcibly freed him from custody. Saakashvili was later apprhended late on December 8 at a friend’s apartment while he recovered from an unspecified illness.

After fleeing Georgia in 2013 amid charges of abuse of power charges during his time in office, Saakashvili later resurfaced in Ukraine at the height of the pro-Western Euromaidan Revolution in the winter of 2014.

Following the ouster of the Moscow-backed Yanukovych regime, Saakashvili was appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region in 2015 by his then-ally, Poroshenko. The two later fell out amid charges by Saakashvili that the presidential administration was intentionally hindering his reform projects and involved in widespread corruption schemes connected to organized crime gangs in Odessa and Moscow.

Saakashvili resigned as governor in November 2016 and was later stripped by Poroshenko of his Ukrainian citizenship that was granted to him by presidential decree when he took up the post a year earlier.

This move left Saakashvili stateless as his Georgian citizenship was revoked in 2015 when he received a Ukrainian passport, a violation of Georgia’s dual citizenship laws.