Ukraine is officially considering possible extradition of Georgia’s former president and former governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, Mikhail Saakashvili, to Georgia, Ukrainiskaya Pravda said on Friday, citing a source close to the presidential administration.
“According to the source, Saakashvili might be striped of Ukraine’s citizenship. So, to expel him from the country, an option is being considered to extradite him at the request of the Georgian side,” Ukrainskaya Pravda wrote.
According to another source, Saakashvili and Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko had a sort of “non-aggression” agreement before elections in Georgia.
In February 2015, the Georgian prosecutor general’s office applied to the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office with an extradition request for Saakashvili but the request was turned down despite the Georgia-Ukraine agreement of 1995 envisaging extradition of wanted persons.
Saakashvili was Georgia’s president from January 2004 to November 2007 and from January 2008 to November 2013. He left his country in mid-November 2013, days before his presidential term expired and inauguration of the current head of state.
After his departure from Georgia, Saakashvili lived in the United States and Ukraine. Before being appointed Odessa governor in late May 2015, he worked in Kiev as chief of the International Reform Council. He was granted Ukrainian citizenship in early May 2015. On November 7, 2016, he announced his resignation claiming corruption steered by ‘brazen billionaires’ was the main reason for his decision.
Georgian prosecutors brought several charges against Saakashvili in 2014. He was charged with a crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in November 2007; illegal intrusion into the building of the Imedi television channel; illegal acquisition of property belonging to businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili; organisation of an armed attack on lawmaker Valery Gelashvili in 2005; covering-up a crime and falsification of an investigation into the 2006 murder of banker Sandro Girgvliani; and misappropriation of about $5 million from state funds in 2009-2012.
The former president failed to turn up at any of the investigative agencies and was subsequently charged and arrested in absentia. On December 4, 2015, President Margvelashvili signed a directive stripping Saakashvili of his Georgian citizenship after he had adopted additional (Ukrainian) citizenship.
Ig extradited to Georgia, Saakashvili will face an arrest. Commenting on Saakashvili’s plans to return to Georgia after the parliamentary elections of October 8, Georgian Interior Minister Georgy Mgebrishvili said in late September 2016 that the former president “will be detained as soon as he crosses Georgia’s border.”