French court to consider pre-trial detention of Georgian former defence minister

Photo: French court to consider pre-trial detention of Georgian former defence minister
 / Politics

By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

The Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence will make the final decision on Feb.27 on the possibility of extraditing the former Defence Minister David Kezerashvili to Georgia.

On Feb.3, a judge will consider the request of lawyers for the release of Kezerashvili from custody before the final extradition decision.

Lawyers of the former minister told journalists that Kezerashvili will be released on Feb.3. They reaffirmed their confidence in the fact that today unexpectedly the French prosecutor said at the trial that Kezerashvili cannot be transferred to Georgia, as the requirement of the Georgian side is 'politically justified'.

Currently, the former Georgian minister is in one of the prisons located near Aix-en-Provence. Kezerashvili was detained in mid-October, 2013, at Nice airport while trying to fly to Albania.

Earlier on Jan.30, 2013, Georgia's investigating authorities indicted the former minister in absentia for taking large bribes and facilitating the smuggling of ethanol.

Kezerashvili, who served as the head of financial police of the Finance Ministry (2004-2006) and defence minister (2006-2008) assisted two businessmen during this period in the importation of ethanol to Georgia with no payment of customs duty and production of cognac alcohol in violation of production technology.

As a result of Kezerashvili's illegal activity, damage to the state amounted to $50 million.

Translated by L.Z.

Edited by S.M.

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