TBILISI, DFWatch–Ukraine has extradited a former Georgian Interior Ministry official to Georgia.
Oleg Melnikov was brought to Georgia Saturday morning. He was detained ten months ago in Ukraine after being subject to an Interpol search.
Melnikov is charged with exceeding his powers. He is also charged with being involved in the brutal murder of bank employee Sandro Girgvliani, while Vano Merabishvili was interior minister.
According to the Interior Ministry, Georgia has cooperated with Ukrainian law enforcers for ten months. After going through several steps of legal procedures, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Ukraine made a decision to extradite Melnikov.
According to the Interior Ministry, Ukraine police detained Oleg Melnikov December 7, 2012. Interpol launched a search for him to days prior.
Melnikov, who was born in 1966, in Kiev, is charged with exceeding his powers in a case which concerns beating police employees eight years ago. The same charges are brought against Data Akhalaia, former head of the Interior Ministry’s Constitutional Security Department (Kudi), his former deputy Soso Topuridze and Geronty Alania, who was charged with the murder of Sandro Girgvliani. He was pardoned in 2009.
The murder of Girgvliani became one of the most controversial cases while Saakashvili’s movement held government power. Interior Ministry officials beat two persons outside the city and one of them, Sandro Girgvliani, a bank employee, died. The Strasbourg Court ruled that the government of Georgia was to blame.
Vano Merabishvili, former Interior Minister, is now also charged in this case, but his trial has not yet ended.
In February, after Oleg Melnikov was detained in Ukraine, his lawyer said that he is ready to be extradited to Georgia.