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Ivanishvili to Appeal Against Stripping of Citizenship
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 15 Oct.'11 / 21:51

Billionaire-turned-politician, Bidzina Ivanishvili, will appeal the court to request annulment of "an illegal" presidential order through which he had lost his Georgian citizenship, his lawyer said late on Saturday.

Eka Beselia said in a written statement, that Ivanishvili received presidential order number 602 stripping him of his Georgian citizenship on October 14. The order was signed by President Saakashvili on October 11, she said.

The Civil Registry Agency at the Georgian Ministry of Justice said Ivanishvili lost his Georgian citizenship after the agency learnt from the billionaire's October 7 written statement that after receiving Georgian citizenship in 2004 he then also obtained the French citizenship.

In the same statement Ivanishvili said that he was intending to revoke his French and Russian citizenship.

Beselia said obtaining French citizenship while already having the Georgian one was only "a formal pretext" for a politically motivated decision to cease Ivanishvili's Georgian citizenship.

"With this political act Mikheil Saakashvili has admitted, that he does not respect Georgia's constitution, international norms and uses forbidden methods against a political opponent," Beselia said.

Beselia said, that stripping of Ivanishvili's citizenship was done  with violation of legal procedures. She argues, that before taking any decision, the relevant authorities should have waited for the procedures - return of French and Russian passports - which Ivanishvili intended to undergo for retaining his Georgian citizenship.

Beselia also argues, that relevant authorities took the decision without giving Ivanishvili an opportunity "to defend his rights and position".

She said that while Ivanishvili had no intention to retain his Russian citizenship, at this stage he would retain his French passport "taking into view all the possible risks." Beselia said that Ivanishvili would launch procedures required for revoking his Russian citizenship on October 17.

She also said that along with Ivanishvili, his wife, Ekaterine Khvedelidze, was also stripped of her Georgian citizenship. 

In case of Ivanishvili's wife, there has not even been a formal pretext to do so because Khvedelidze already had the French citizenship at the time when receiving a Georgia one, Beselia said.

"We are dealing not with legal procedures, but with illegal and unacceptable methods, as well as with misuse of presidential power by Mikheil Saakashvili out of fear towards a political opponent," Beselia said.

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