Former chief of military police of Georgia, Megis Kardava was extradited from Kyiv to Tbilisi today. Ukrainian law enforcers had detained him in 2017.
Kardava was wanted by the Georgian authorities since 2013 on multiple charges, in eleven criminal cases. He has been found guilty in five of the criminal cases, including in organizing the torture and sexual abuse of retired colonel Sergo Tetradze, for which Kardava was sentenced to nine years in prison in absentia.
Besides, he was found guilty in the criminal cases of the Navtlugi special operation, 2006 prison riot, the torture and sexual abuse videos case as well as another case on to the illegal deprivation of liberty and torture.
In the six court cases, still ongoing, Kardava stands accused of torture, threatening with torture, humiliating and inhuman treatment, illegal deprivation of liberty and sexual actions committed through violence, embezzlement, as well as ordering a contract killing of a renegade Georgian army general in Moscow.
In 2011, Megis Kardava was the deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti regional police department. Later, he led the Defense Ministry’s Military Police Department, but left the country in 2012 after the Georgian Dream came to power.
Tbilisi requested Kardava’s extradition from Kyiv in April 2017, and Ukrainian authorities detained the wanted former official in November of the year. Kardava was reportedly detained until 2018, when he was reportedly sent to house arrest.
The Justice Ministry of Ukraine eventually ordered the former Georgian official’s extradition on June 1, 2021. Kardava’s defense lawyer appealed the decision at the Pecherskyi District Court of Kyiv, which struck the complaint down, and then at the Kyiv Appellate Court. The latter upheld on September 13 the first instance ruling, paving the way for the extradition.
A statement posted recently on Kardava’s Facebook page, supposedly by his wife, claimed that his extradition was being expedited as part of a “political agreement” between Kyiv and Tbilisi, in exchange for the pardoning of Ukrainian sailors in July.
Kardava’s extradition comes some two weeks before bitterly contested October 2 local elections and amid continued warming of relations between Kyiv and Tbilisi, after months-long hiatus over ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s appointment in Ukraine.
The ruling Georgian Dream party on Twitter called today Kardava “one of the most notorious henchmen executing numerous criminal atrocities in years 2004-2012.”
This article was updated.