Today, Russia will extradite to Georgia two suspects in an assassination attempt on Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze that occurred in February 1998.
According to a representative of the Prosecutor General's office in the Southern federal district, "following the decision made by the Russian Prosecutor General's office, Soso Toria and Vepkhia Durglishvili, who were detained in Chechnya during the joint operation of the Interior Ministry troops and the FSB operatives, will be extradited to Georgia on Saturday." On February 9, 1998, the Georgian President's motorcade was ambushed in Tbilisi by a group of terrorists who fired upon the cars with grenade launchers and automatic weapons. The armored Mercedes the president was in, was completely destroyed. However, the president wasn't injured. He managed to get in a police cruiser and leave the site unharmed.
16 suspects were arrested in connection with organizing and conducting the terrorist act. Some evidence indicates that several assassins had been trained at Khattab's bases in Chechnya.
The extradited are known as active supporters of the former Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia.
Durglishvili had served in the presidential guard battalion, and after Gamsakhurdia's government had been overthrown he escaped to Chechnya. In 1997, Durglishvili arrived in Zugdidi and joined an armed terrorist group that had planned the assassination of Shevardnadze.
Toria served in Gamsakhurdia's personal security unit. In 1992, Toria arrived in Grozny together with Gamsakhurdia, where he lived in the residence of the then Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudayev. Toria is acquainted with the leaders of Chechen opposition Maskhadov, Basayev and Raduyev. After Gamsakhurdia's death, Toria remained in Chechnya.
Toria and Durglishvili were discovered and captured in Chechnya in the context of cooperative efforts between Russian and Georgian law enforcement services aimed at eliminating the terrorist threat.
The extradited were included in the international terrorist search list by the Georgian Prosecutor General's office.
The representative from the Russian General Prosecutor's office reported that the FSB operatives would be responsible for providing security during the delivery of the extradited terrorists to the Georgian side.
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