Supreme Court of Greece (Areios Pagos) confirms non-extradition of David Akhalaia to Georgia

On April 24, 2015 Areios Pagos handed down its judgment in the extradition case of the former Chief of the Consitutional Security Department in Georgia under ex-President Mikhel Saakashvili, David Akhalaia.

The Court rejected the Prosecution’s appeal against  a Patras Court judgment issued in October 2014, denying the extradition of Akhalaia to Georgia to face charges of murder, torture and abuse of power. The Patras Court had decided that extradition was barred by Akhalaia’s political asylum request on political persecution grounds.

Areios Pagos ruled that the Patras Court was wrong in finding that a pending asylum request bars the examination of the extradition request on its merits. On this basis and after evaluating the evidence of the case the Court held that Georgia’s extradition request must be denied, because Mr Akhalaia, if extradited, would be at serious risk of being prosecuted on political grounds as a prominent opponent of the now governing party. Moreover, the Court found that the specialty rule might be violated if extradition was granted.

Counsel for the extraditee Ilias Anagnostopoulos comments:
“This is a most welcome decision which confirms the respect of human rights and sets an important precedent in extradition proceedings across Europe. It also calls for a review of the Georgian Goverment’s policy towards key state officials under the former President Mikhel Saakashvili”.

Ilias Anagnostopoulos and Ioannis Tolakis advised and represented Mr Akhalaia throughout his extradition proceedings.