14:57 31.07.2017

Kyiv can begin Saakashvili's extradition to Georgia as soon as he returns to Ukraine

Nobody in Georgia cares about former President Mikheil Saakashvili in a political sense, and his extradition should be viewed as a purely legal, investigative, and prosecutorial process, Georgian Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani said.

Speaking on the Imedi television station on Sunday, Tsulukiani said she hoped Kyiv would be able to begin Saakashvili's extradition as soon as he returns to Ukraine.

"This is a legal and investigative-prosecutorial process. We've heard various statements from the Ukrainian side, but there is only one truth: Georgia once demanded that Mikheil Saakashvili, who was still a citizen of Georgia at the time, be handed over under four criminal cases, including the beating of parliamentarian Valery Gelashvili, the embezzlement of nine million lari (which is over $3.7 million), the November Affair (the dispersal of a peaceful rally in November 2007), and the crackdown on the Imedi television company," Tsulukiani said, adding that Georgia had demanded Kyiv extradite Saakashvili under these cases back in 2014 and 2015.

"We should understand one thing: when you demand extradition, the state you are addressing will either grant this demand or not. Ukraine replied at that time, in April 2015, that they could not hand over Mikheil Saakashvili because it seemed to them this prosecution was not based solely on law. Apparently, they have changed their position today. As soon as Saakashvili returns to Ukraine, Kyiv will be able to start the extradition process," she said.

She insisted that nobody in Georgia cares about Saakashvili in a political sense.

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