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Ex-Georgian President Saakashvili’s Lawyer Rules Out Extradition to Ukraine

© AP Photo / Virginia MayoMikhail Saakashvili
Mikhail Saakashvili - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.10.2021
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TBILISI (Sputnik) - A lawyer for former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili told Sputnik on Saturday that he did not expect his client to be extradited to Ukraine, where he faces criminal charges.

"I cannot even imagine this procedure happening", Beka Basilaia told Sputnik.

Basilaia said that lawyers were not allowed to meet with Saakashvili on Friday. He said he hoped to arrange a visit to the prison shortly.

"I will return to Tbilisi today and will try to see him shortly if an opportunity arises", he said.

In the meantime, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has thanked Ukraine for cooperating on the case against Saakashvili.

"I am grateful to Ukraine for the fruitful relationship we had recently, our fruitful cooperation on the extradition of [former Georgian paramilitary chief] Megiz Kardava and now on the case of Mikheil Saakashvili", he told reporters.

The 53-year-old was arrested on corruption charges shortly after returning to Georgia from his self-imposed exile. He is in custody in a prison near the capital of Tbilisi. An ombudswoman said that Saakashvili had declared a hunger strike.
Saakashvili served as president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013 and fled the country after failing to secure a third term. He was appointed a governor in Ukraine in 2015 only to fall out with his friend, then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, a year later.
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