Kvirikashvili: We don’t extradite citizens to countries with military bases on our territory

Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia. Photo: PM's press office.
Agenda.ge, 25 Jan 2017 - 18:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili says the Government of Georgia does not extradite its own citizens to other countries, "especially those which have military bases stationed on our territory”.

Kvirikashvili commented on the case of Georgian serviceman Giorgi Tsertsvadze, who was detained in Ukraine on January 15 after INTERPOL released an arrest warrant for him on Russia’s request.

"Our statements on Mr. Tsertsvadze's case are crystal clear – Georgia does not extradite its own citizens to other countries”, Kvirikashvili said.

"Over the past two days, our Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze has been in touch with Ukraine's Chief Prosecutor, and we hope this case will be closed without Tsertsvadze's extradition to Russia”, he added.

The Prime Minister said that the Government’s opponents want "to keep us in self-justification mode”.

"They have engaged their television station, their partner stations and a part of the NGO sector to distract us from the main agenda and keep us from proving that we are in fact not ruining the country”, Kvirikashvili said.

He added that all this is done by a political force "who has largely been responsible for the deterioration of the country's security for a decade and for leading the country to failure in the face of provocation, giving the green light to Russia's imperialistic intentions”.

Over the past several days, local media, opposition politicians and civil activists have been actively protesting against what they claim is the "the Government’s indifference towards its own soldier”. They claim that if extradited to Russia, Tsertsvadze will be tortured.

Tsertsvadze, a lieutenant colonel who fought against Russia to defend Georgia during the 2008 war and then to defend Ukraine during the Crimean annexation, was detained in Kiev airport upon arrival there from Tbilisi on January 15. Ukrainian officials said the man was detained on a request from INTERPOL. However, Ukrainian officials have stated they will not extradite him to Russia if it can be proven that he may face torture there.

On January 24, the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that the agency had contacted Ukrainian prosecutors and provided them with information claiming the high probability of the violation of his fundamental human rights if handed over to Russia.

Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said today the Georgian Embassy in Kiev is in constant communication with the Ukrainian authorities and all efforts are being made to prevent the Georgian citizen from being extradited to Russia.

Russia requested the issuance of a red notice on Tsertsvadze from INTERPOL back in December 2016 in relation to a murder that allegedly took place in 2003.