Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office twice turned to Ukraine asking to extradite former president Mikheil Saakashvili. Tea Tsulukiani, Georgia’s Justice Minister said this as quoted by Georgia Online outlet.
‘I’m glad our Ukrainian partners had their information checked; yes, it is true that our Prosecutor General’s Office turned to the Ukrainian side asking to hand Saakashvili over to us; they refused both times. Our request was well-reasoned; we sent the evidence, leaving it up to the Ukrainian side to decide. Of course, our prosecutor’s offices will continue to cooperate. The Ukrainian president earlier said this can’t be a politically motivated process; it’s a matter of evidence, and the evidence speaks against Saakashvili,’ Tsulukiani said.
As Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko came to Georgia with the official visit, reporters asked him about possible extradition of Mikheil Saakashvili. At first, Poroshenko told the press Georgia never turned to Ukraine with such request; then, however, he stood corrected stating he checked the information and found out that Ukraine refused to extradite the former Georgian leader – twice. According to Poroshenko, the Ukrainian side asked some extra information in this regard.
Mikheil Saakashvili is a famous Georgian and Ukrainian politician who served as president of Georgia in 2004-2007 and 2008-2013. He supported the Euromaidan movement and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. In May 2015, Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili Governor of Odesa region. He was also granted Ukrainian citizenship. In November 2016, Saakashvili resigned as Governor while blaming President Poroshenko personally for enabling corruption in Odessa and in Ukraine overall. Four days later he announced his goal to create a new political party called Movement of New Forces.
The Georgian politician has two cases opened against him in his motherland; in one case, he was charged with dispersing a peaceful protest in Tbilisi in 2007 and converting a local businessman’s TV company. In the other case, Saakashvili was accused of assaulting former MP Valeriy Gelashvili in 2005.