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    GEORGIA WAITS FOR EARLY EXTRADITION FROM RUSSIA OF SHOTA CHICHIASHVILI WHO IS SUSPECTED OF KIDNAPPINGS

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    TBILISI, January 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Marina Kvaratskhelia) -- The Ministry of the State Security of Georgia expresses hope for the soonest possible extradition of Shota Chichiashvili, who was detained in Moscow in July 2003.

    "We have got the consent of the Russian side in principle to the extradition of Shota Chichiashvili. We are assured that the judicial bodies of Moscow will consider the complaint of Chichiashvili's lawyer on obtaining political asylum in Russia within the shortest possible time," Nikolai Laliashvili, head of the public relations department of the Ministry for the State Security of Georgia, said.

    According to him, Chichiashvili's previous appeal to the Russian leadership for granting political asylum to him met with refusal. "At present Chichiashvilli's lawyer is trying to get permission for political asylum through the court," Laliashvilli said.

    According to materials of the State Security Ministry of Georgia, Shota Chichiashvili is suspected of organizing kidnapping of foreign businessmen in 2000-2001. He figures in the case dealing with kidnapping of three Spanish businessmen, officers of the International Red Cross Committee and British banker Peter Show, who were kept hostage for many months in the Pankisi Gorge of Georgia.

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