Ukrainian PGO confirms receiving Saakashvili extradition request from Georgia
Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) has received a copy of a request from respective Georgian agencies for the extradition of ex-President of Georgia, former Odesa governor Mikheil Saakashvili, PGO spokeswoman Larysa Sarhan has said.
"I want to confirm that this week the PGO has received a copy of the request by the Office of the Chief Prosecutor (OCP) of Georgia under the Justice Ministry of Georgia to extradite Saakashvili," Sarhan said on her Facebook page on Thursday evening.
She added that since the criminal cases serving as the basis for the extradition request are under the jurisdiction of the Tbilisi city court, "the extradition of Georgian competent agencies will be reviewed by Ukraine's Justice Ministry, in compliance with Article 574 of Ukraine's Criminal Procedure Code.
As earlier reported, Deputy Justice Minister of Ukraine for European Integration Serhiy Petukhov on September 5 said Ukraine's Justice Ministry had received a request from Georgia's PGO to detain Saakashvili and extradite him to Georgia.
"Ukraine received a request to search for, arrest and extradite Saakashvili. The request from Georgia's OCP was addressed to Ukraine's Justice Ministry and Ukraine's PGO," he said.
Petukhov said that according to the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia, Saakashvili is the defendant in four criminal proceedings opened under the following articles of the Georgian Criminal Code: Article 182, providing liability for misappropriation, embezzlement, or seizure of other people's property by abusing power by an official, committed by prior agreement with a large group of persons; Article 333 and Article 117 – abuse of power by an official committed by violence or with the use of weapons; Part 2 of Article 332 – abuse of position by an official.
The deputy minister of justice said the decision of the judge for criminal cases of the Tbilisi City Court, dated August 2, 2014, chose a preventive measure in the form of detention for Saakashvili. As the suspect failed to show up at investigator's office, and his place of residence could not be established, Saakashvili was put on the wanted list on August 4, 2014.
Petukhov said that the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia gave a guarantee to the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine that this request does not aim to persecute the person for political reasons and that Saakashvili will not be held liable for committing crimes not provided for by the request, and also will not be extradited to a third country, and his rights will not be violated.
"Pursuant to the criminal procedural legislation, the Justice Ministry sends a request, received from Georgia, along with supporting materials, 94 pages, addressed to Ukraine's PGO," Petukhov said.
On July 26, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree that deprived Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship. Saakashvili at the time was in the U.S. He later travelled to Poland on his Ukrainian passport, and then to Lithuania.
Saakashvili announced on August 16 that he would return to Ukraine on September 10 via border crossing Krakovets in Lviv region.
The Border Service of Ukraine said it had not received any instructions from law-enforcement agencies to prohibit Saakashvili from entering into Ukraine.