RFE/RL’s Armenian Service reported on Tuesday that France has refused to extradite the former governor of Syunik Surik Khachatryan to Armenia. Khachatryan is pursued by Pashinyan’s government on alleged charges of “corruption”.
The agency was notified by the Armenian Prosecutor-General’s Office that Yerevan received a rejection from Paris regarding its bid for Khachatryan’s extradition about a month ago.
According to the report, the French Foreign Ministry sent a reply through the Armenian Ministry, relaying the information that five months ago “judicial bodies in France expressed a negative opinion on Armenia’s bid for Khacatryan’s extradition and that the decision was based on the European Convention on Extradition, according to which ‘Khachatryan’s extradition may have extremely serious consequences for him.'”
Also, per the report, Hayk Martirosian, an expert on legal issues of Transparency International, believes that the rejection may also have a political context.
“They see risks. They are not sure that the process is purely legal and see a political context as well. This is also due to what maybe other states see as a lack of comprehensive, proportionate and equal policies by Armenia’s current authorities in relation to both former and current officials, with their entire attention focused on former officials. But it does not mean that former officials did not commit offenses,” Martirosian said.