Ukraine will not honor Georgia’s request for the extradition of its former President Mikhail Saakashvili, according to a report. Saakashvili, who served as Georgia’s president from 2004 to 2013, faces criminal abuse of power charges in his homeland for the use of force to quell protests in 2007.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office cited the pending charges against Saakashvili in a statement Wednesday which denied Georgia’s extradition request, according to the Associated Press. Saakashvili currently serves as an adviser to embattled Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko. They have a common enemy in Russia, which fought a brief war with Georgia in 2008.
He was a member of Georgia’s United National Movement party, which lost power to a party led by billionaire politician Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2012. Saakashvili has accused Ivanishvili of having ties to the Kremlin and said the abuse of power charges are the result of their political dispute.
Saakashvili left office in 2012 after he served the two terms allotted to Georgian presidents, according to the New York Times. Georgia’s general prosecutor announced charges against him in July 2014 for the government’s handling of the 2007 protests, when police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to clear the streets.
Saakashvili also forced two television stations to shut down – a move his opponents characterized as an attempted hostile takeover of a media company. Two of Saakashvili’s political allies also faced criminal charges, which led both the United States and the European Union to question if the cases against them were politically motivated.
In March, Georgians took to the streets of the capital city of Tbilisi to protest the ruling Georgian Dream party's efforts to fix the nation’s economy. Saakashvili did not attend the demonstrations, but he addressed protesters via a video message from Brussels, according to Agence France-Presse.
“We are united by our shared task to liberate Georgia from the government which destroys our country,” Saakashvili said at the time. “We will get Georgia back on the right track. We will win.”